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Joseph Beuys was born on May 12, 1921 in the little town of Cleves in the Northwestern corner of Germany, near the Dutch border. (Beuys is a Dutch name; it rhymes with "voice"). He grew up in the troubled years of post World War I Germany. He worked on farms as a boy, as an adolescent he joined a traveling circus. At nineteen, he was conscripted into the Luftwaffe and was injured several times. In 1945 he turned to sculpture and painting.
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