The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of April 22, 2018

Lot's Wife, 1989

oil paint, ash, stucco, chalk, linseed oil, polymer emulsion, salt and applied elements (e.g., copper heating coil), on canvas, attached to lead foil, on plywood panels, Framed: 350 x 410 cm (137 3/4 x 161 3/8 in.). Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1990.8.a

As a German artist, Kiefer struggles with the of the Holocaust and creates work that engages history, ethical issues of the present, and German identity through images emblematic of Nazi sites. This barren, deeply recessed landscape is divided by train tracks, recalling the deportation and death issued by the Nazi party. A substructure of lead mounted on wood is marked by footprints and tire tracks, plastered, burned, and covered with ash. The raw natural materials and destructive artistic process symbolize human tragedy. Salt, applied to the upper half of the work, connects the historical event with the biblical narrative of Lot’s escape from Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot’s wife, who disobeyed warnings not to look back at God’s destruction of the cities, was turned into a pillar of salt.

Titled in chalk on recto of lower panel: Lots Frau

CMA 1991: "Notable Acquisitions" June 7-September 15, 1991, Bulletin 78 (June 1991), p. 109, repr.

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