German painter who studied Law at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität in Freiburg (1965-6), at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Karlsruhe (1969) and at the Staatliche Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf. From then onwards, history and myth became the central themes in his work. In 1971, he painted his first large scale landscape and, as from 1973, he painted interiors on wood, producing a monumental effect. The enthusiasm created by his work, mainly in the United States, was simultaneously accompanied by ferocious criticism. In 1977 and 1987, he took part in documenta 6 and 8 in Kassel. In 1981-83, he produced paintings on photographs and books. In 1987, he had a major retrospective at the Chicago Art Institute and, in 1991, at the Berlin National Gallery. In the 90s, he produced numerous book-objects, sculptures and installations. Kiefer was the precursor of New German Painting.