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Balding man in tuxedo poses in orange, red, purple and green interior.
© 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

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  • Balding man in tuxedo poses in orange, red, purple and green interior.




Max Beckmann
German, 1884–1950

About this artwork

Max Beckmann was one of the Weimar Republic’s most honored artists and one of those most vilified by the Nazis. This self-portrait was perhaps the last painting the artist completed in Berlin before he and his wife fled to the Netherlands on July 20, 1937. Their flight occurred just two days after Adolf Hitler delivered a speech condemning modern art and one day after the opening of the exhibition Degenerate Art, the Nazis’ official denigration of the avant-garde, which included twenty-two of Beckmann’s works. The artist departed Germany just in time: in 1937 more than five hundred of his works were confiscated from public collections.

The most brilliantly colored and aggressive of all of Beckmann’s self-portraits (he painted over eighty), this powerful work depicts the artist, near life size, on the staircase of a hotel lobby, separated from two figures in the background on the right. Beckmann steps to the left, while his dark-rimmed gaze and the entire picture plane—curtains, flowers, staircase, and banisters—seem to slide off to the right. His large hands hang down, limp, against his black tuxedo.


On View, Gallery 395


Modern Art


Max Beckmann




Germany (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil on canvas


Signed and dated, l.r.: "Beckmann/3.37"


192.5 × 89 cm (75 3/4 × 35 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Lotta Hess Ackerman and Philip E. Ringer

Reference Number



© 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Extended information about this artwork

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