Much of the show is viscerally beautiful: Paintings of gloomy, tree-clotted forests and mountains crusted with clouds in Kiefer's signature burnt blacks, smoky grays, sepulchral whites, and dried-blood browns, coalesce into desolate, brooding quiet. The vistas call to mind the wastelands, still strewn with long forgotten ordnance, that surround the eradicated Austrian village of Dollersheim, which Hitler had blasted off the map in an attempt to destroy any trace of a family past he feared might be tainted with Jewish blood. To this day, locals refer to the place as verfallen—"ruined."
Hitler tried to hide his origins. Kiefer wears his like an outsize badge.