Anselm Kiefer, the German painter, was born in 1945 at Donaueschingen in Baden-Württemberg. He initially studied law, language, and literature of Romance languages before turning to art, studying at the Fribourg-en-Brisgau and Karlsruhe Fine Arts schools. After a period at Buchen in Bade-Wurtemberg, he moved to France and has been working at Barjac in the Gard region since 1993, and since 2007 in Paris.
The work of Anselm Kiefer begins with a crucial question. How, after the Holocaust, can one be an artist within the German tradition? His existential examination of memory then broadened into a spiritual quest fed by the great myths of Kabbalistic mysticism. Steeped in culture, he mixes painting, photography, books, and sculptures. Fascinated by Judaism, Anselm Kiefer has explored the theme of the Kabbal throughout his oeuvre with same intense focus he brought to his questioning of his German identity.
His work is included in the collections of the world's most important museums. In October 2007, three of his works (Athanor, a painting 11 meters high, Danaë and Hortus conclusus, two sculptures) entered the Louvre museum collections. He inaugurated the Monumenta program at the Grand Palais of Paris in 2007 with work that paid a tribute to the poets Paul Celan and Ingeborg Bachmann as well as Céline.
In 2009, during the commemorative celebrations of the twentieth anniversary of the Bastille Opera, that institution commissioned a musical performance with narrator from Kiefer, entitled Am Anfang. The artist developed the concept, staging, decors, and costumes based on biblical texts from the Old Testament.
In 1999, Anselm Kiefer received the prestigious Praemium Imperiale Prize in Tokyo and was awarded the 2008 Peace Prize for German Bookstores and Publishers.