Artist's books have been one of Kiefer's central means of expression since 1968. Unlike many artist's books, which are typically issued as multiples, Kiefer's books are singular, handmade pieces and, in this sense, more like paintings or sculptures. For Robert Fludd (Für Robert Fludd, 1995–96) is dedicated to the eponymous English metaphysical philosopher and alchemist (1574–1637), for whom the essence of each and every one of the universe's elements could be found in mankind, a notion that established a cosmological order between different spheres of the universe. Fludd was also renowned for his understanding of how to convey his philosophical and cosmological ideas graphically, with the help of the best printmakers of his day.

Kiefer began to make books and paintings with underlying themes devoted to Fludd in the early 1990s. This particular book contains a series of photographs illustrating the process of growth in a sunflower field. For Kiefer, sunflowers offer an optimal analogy for Fludd's thinking about the relationship between the microcosm and the macrocosm. (The symbol also appears in the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum's Sunflowers [Tournesols, 1996].) The book's cover features a black-and-white photograph of a sunflower. Inside, photographs chart sunflowers growing, ripening, and losing their seeds, which Kiefer represents with real sunflower seeds collaged on the pages. The sunflowers ultimately shrivel and disappear, until only the seeds are left. In the subsequent sheet, the scattered seeds are replaced by an image of a starry sky.


  • Title: For Robert Fludd
  • Creator: Anselm Kiefer
  • Date Created: 1995/1996
  • Location: Bilbao, Spain
  • Physical Dimensions: 105 x 82.5 x 105 cm, 16 spreads
  • Type: Artist's book
  • Medium: Acrylic, emulsion, and sunflower seeds on woodcut mounted on photo-collage
  • Artwork's location in the Museum: Not on view

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