Marian Goodman Gallery, New York Acquired by the present owner from the above in March 1994
Venice, Museo Correr, Anselm Kiefer, June - November 1997, p. 152, illustrated in color
Anselm Kiefer draws inspiration from the traumas of contemporary history and the complexities of humanity, most notably exploring the issue of German identity after the atrocities of World War II and the Holocaust. Unternehmen Barbarossa (Operation Barbarossa) was the code name for the German invasion of the Soviet Union launched in June 1941 which opened the Eastern front of the Second World War. The roughly four million German soldiers who invaded the vast Russian empire represent the largest military invasion in history, in terms of weaponry and manpower, as well as in casualties. Hitler’s plan to simultaneously challenge his enemies on two fronts was intended to divide and diminish the Allied forces and it initially met with success. Yet Operation Barbarossa eventually stalled at the outskirts of Moscow and through the counteroffensive, Russia became the most horrific theater of the war encompassing some of the most horrendous battles and losses seen by either side. So while the massive scale of Operation Barbarossa could represent the pinnacle of German might and pride, it’s equally massive casualties and suffering rendered it the most tragic phase of the war for the German and Soviet armies. The ultimate defeat of Hitler’s army in Russia was also a pivotal phase in the victory of Germany’s opponents.
This work is in good condition overall. The canvas is slightly slack on the stretcher. There is fine and stable scattered craquelure in the white impasto. There are some small brown accretions scattered horizontally across the center of the canvas which appear inherent to the artists working method. Under ultraviolet light inspection there is no evidence of restoration. Framed. In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.