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Max Beckmann's Theatre at Museum Barberini, Potsdam


Recently, auction house Grisebach in Berlin set the highest price record ever paid for a painting by Max Beckmann in Germany. The result set the record in Germany at 5.5 million (inclusive of buyer premium). Concurrently at Museum Barberini in Potsdam, the art museum is hosting a major retrospective of the German artist titled Max Beckmann: The World as a Stage, running from February 24th till June 10th.

Family Picture, 1920, oil on canvas, The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Max Beckmann: The World as a Stage is a thematic exhibition dedicated to offer an in-depth analysis of the artist career. Throughout his life, Beckmann engirdled himself in the theatrical world: the world of the theatre and the theatrical events around him. His art depicted this double-edged narrative. The exhibition -organised by Museum Barberini and Kunsthalle Bremen- amassed over 110 loans from museums and private collections around the world, like MoMA, New York and Saint Louis Art Museum, to name a few. Exiled to Amsterdam to escape Hitler’s reign and successfully immigrated to the U.S. after a 10-year struggle in Amsterdam, the exhibition displayed the agony, infuriation of the painter during the Amsterdam period, many of his signature triptych masterpieces were produced during this time, too.

Actors, triptych created in Amsterdam by Max Beckmann

Max Beckmann produced incessantly, the number of works could rival that of Rembrandt and Picasso. Inspired by medieval stained-glass art, Beckmann’s paintings are flat and two-dimensional. His quick and abrupt brushstrokes intensified the dark colours he often used on his canvases. Unlike his expressionist contemporaries, Beckmann rejected ‘emotional’ art and painted figures, objects and historical events throughout his career. Similar to his contemporaries, they all depicted the theatrical events of their time: the raging war, the inglorious desire of harlotry and the desperate self; though different in ways of artistic expression. Beckman was obsessed with a particular musical instrument -seen in many of his self-portraits- and it was saxophone. It was perhaps his way of revealing his sexual desire. Beckmann was ‘smart’ with choosing intriguing themes -the theatre, or the stage- as a way to reflect his view on the traumatic world and time he lived in. #MaxBeckmann #museumbarberini #Griesbach #MoMA #SaintLouisArtMuseum #KunsthalleBremen #potsdammuseum #visitpotsdam #museumexhibition #Potsdam #neuesachlichkeit #newobjectivity

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© 2020 By Henrietta Y. Mansfeld