Introduction

Welcome to the Joseph Beuys multiples website,
an online selection of works drawn from the
collections of the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich.

The early 1960s witnessed the rise to prominence of the ‘multiple,’ a new form of editioned artwork that expanded the horizons of reproductive art-making. In contrast to traditional reproductive media like printmaking and sculpture, multiples could assume any format. Thanks to their embrace of machine-made materials, they could also be more readily reproduced than their handmade predecessors. They could thus be priced more affordably, and in the democratic spirit of the times, reach a larger audience.

It was with this aim in mind that Beuys created more than 500 multiples between the mid-1960s and his death in 1986. Collaborating with a range of publishers and experimenting freely with a wide array of formats and materials, with these works he sought to reach a broader public than was possible with unique objects or with ephemeral artistic activities.

Positioning himself as a broadcaster, he imagined the multiples as ‘antennae,’ which would carry his creative concerns into the wider world: ‘I am a sender,’ he declared, ‘I transmit!’

This website is intended to support Beuys’s aim of making art available to a large audience. Generously funded by the International Patrons of the Pinakothek, it features some fifty works from the museum’s collection of close to 300 multiples. In addition to images and descriptions of the multiples themselves, the site contains an overview of Beuys’s career, a glossary of terms related to his art, a listing of key publishers with whom he worked, and a brief history of multiples as an art form.

View the multiples