Self-Portrait

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.

Date:

1937

Artist:

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

Modern Art, Gallery 395

Artist

Max Beckmann

Title

Self-Portrait

Origin

Germany

Date

1937

Medium

Oil on canvas

Inscriptions

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

Dimensions

75 3/4 × 35 in. (192.5 × 89 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Lotta Hess Ackerman and Philip E. Ringer

Reference Number

1955.822

Copyright

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

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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