With its delicate, subtle beauty, Noch Nicht (Not Yet) is a serene landscape of an impossible daydream from Anselm Kiefer. Painted in 1974-1975, the deep blues and greens of the Germanic countryside here are rendered in understated watercolour. The titular phrase with its temporal implications comes from the philosopher Ernst Bloch’s study of utopianism in The Principle of Hope, and devoid of a human presence, the painting presents a poignant confrontation with the legacy of the Romantic sublime—one of the many German traditions which Kiefer contended had been overshadowed by the atrocities of World War II. Whereas artists such as Caspar David Friedrich had been struck by the overwhelming power of the Germanic vistas they encountered, Kiefer found it impossible to dissociate his native soil from the trauma of its recent past. In Noch Nicht, he endeavours to conjure the untarnished grace of a winding river and grassy field. Born just a few months before the end of the Second World War, an idealised European landscape was already something of a relic for Kiefer, and his career can be understood as a kind of wandering odyssey in search of a catharsis for the wounded land. Using watercolour affords the painting an emotional intimacy not entirely available in the artist’s larger-scale works. As Kiefer himself said, ‘If you have a very big idea, a big theme, you need a small format’ and the time of Noch Nicht is stilled to a point of tranquil contemplation (Kiefer as quoted by B. Cavaliere, Anslem Kiefer: Works on Paper in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1998 p. 53). Making its timescale geological, Noch Nicht represents a world that once was and has not yet come to be.