Growing up in Kleve, a small town near the border of the Netherlands, Joseph Beuys was drafted for military service in 1941, which, with its traumatizing impressions, would have a lasting influence on the artist's later work. After the war, Beuys decided to study art at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, graduating in 1951 as a master student of Ewald Mataré. During his studies, the young artist was already emancipating himself from the prevailing concept of art. In 1961 Joseph Beuys was appointed professor for monumental sculpture at the Düsseldorf Art Academy, where he propagated the idea of "social sculpture" until his dismissal in 1972. The idea was to raise public awareness of the social role of art through actions, happenings, lectures, and political debates. Following this principle, Joseph Beuys created an enormous artistic oeuvre until his early death in 1986, which, consisting of art actions, spatial installations, sculptural works, watercolors, drawings, multiples, and writings, broke previous genres’ boundaries.