Think of Max Beckmann and think of claustrophobia. THink of the small place, filled with people. You can't breathe, you can't escape, your stuck in this small room with so many big-boned people forever and ever. You will rot with them as they are rotting before your very eyes. So close, so close, you can almost see the disturbed thoughts of your nearest and dearest because in every corner the foul breath of a family relative is in your face. There's no escape. And the walls are slowly but inexorably closing in until the room will fit you and your big-boned family like a coffin.
The confined space with strong groups of figures was Beckmann's trademark style and, whether he himself liked it or not, was Expressionistic in style, but it was a style he perfected only after service as a medical orderly in the first World War. To the casual observer that was his only style but his range in reality was quite staggering. In fact,
he began his artistic career as a traditional painter. But the experience of the war changed everything, and it is its dark and painful menace that pervades his work from then on.
From 1900, he studied art with Carl Frithjof Smith at the
Grossherzogliche Kunstschule, Weimar. In the early 1900s, Beckmann began his lifelong practice of keeping a diary. At the age of 20, he settled in Berlin.
He had his first solo shows in 1912; at the
Kunstverein, Magdeburg, and the Grossherzogliches
Museum für Kunst und Kunstgewerbe, Weimar. When after volunteering for the German army medical corps in 1914, and being discharged for health reasons the following year, he settled in Frankfurt. In 1925, Beckmann’s work was included in the
Neue Sachlichkeit exhibition at the Städtisches Kunsthalle, Mannheim, and he was appointed professor at the Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt.
His first show in the United States took place at J. B. Neumann’s New Art Circle,
New York, in 1926. A large retrospective of his work was held at the
Städtisches Kunsthalle, Mannheim, in 1928. From 1929 to 1932, he continued to teach in Frankfurt but spent time in Paris during the winters. It was in these years that Beckmann began to use the triptych format.
When the Nazis came to power in 1933, Beckmann
lost his teaching position and moved to Berlin. In 1937, his
work was included in Entartete Kunst, the Nazis’ exhibition of so-called “degenerate art.” The day after the show opened in July in Munich, the artist left Germany for Amsterdam, where he remained often penniless until 1947. In 1938, he had
the first of numerous exhibitions at Curt Valentin’s Buchholz Gallery, New York.
Beckmann traveled to Paris and the south of France in 1947 and later that year went to the United States to teach at the School of Fine Arts at Washington University, Saint Louis. The first Beckmann retrospective in the United States
took place in 1948 at the City Art Museum, Saint Louis. The artist taught at the University of Colorado, Boulder, during the summer of 1949 and the following fall at the Brooklyn Museum Art School. That year, the artist was awarded first prize in the exhibition Painting in the United States,
1949 at the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh.
He died December 27, 1950, in New York.
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//MAX BECKMANN ITEMS IN STOCK//
PROMENADE DES ANGLAIS A NICE ART PRINT
THE LOGE ART PRINT
WOMAN IN THE MIRROR ART PRINT
ACTRESSES ART PRINT
STILL-LIFE WITH BURNING CANDLE ART PRINT
PIC D'AIGLE ART PRINT
NIGHT C.1918 ART PRINT
SEASHORE ART PRINT
FOOTBAL PLAYERS ART PRINT
WINDING PATH IN THE BLACK FOREST ART PRINT
YELLOW ROSES ART PRINT
SEA AND CLOUDS ART PRINT
STILL-LIFE WITH FLOWERS ART PRINT
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