Max Beckmann

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Max Beckmann, Portrait of Hugo Erfurth (1928)

Max Carl Friedrich Beckmann (born February 12, 1884 in Leipzig , † December 27, 1950 in New York City ) was a German painter , graphic artist , sculptor , author and university professor . Beckmann took up painting from the end of the 19th century as well as the art-historical tradition and formed a strong figure, which from 1911 he opposed the emerging non-representationalism.

Beckmann was a member of the Berlin Secession in his early days , but then preferred to stylize himself as a loner. He opposed modernism , especially Pablo Picasso and Cubism , with an idiosyncratic spatiality. He also developed a narrative and myth-making painting, especially in ten triptychs . Beckmann is of particular importance as a concise draftsman , portraitist (including numerous self-portraits ) and as a subtle illustrator .

life and work


Max Beckmann was born as the third child of Antonie and Carl Beckmann. The two siblings Margarethe and Richard were much older. The parents came from the Braunschweig area , where the father had been a miller. In Leipzig he ran a milling agency. In Falkenburg in Pomerania , today's Złocieniec , Max Beckmann attended elementary school . From Easter 1894 to November 1894 he was a student at the Sexta of the Royal High School in Leipzig. At the age of eleven he moved with his family to Braunschweig. Here the father died shortly afterwards. Max Beckmann continued attending school in Braunschweig and Königslutter . His first surviving watercolor , a fairy tale illustration, is dated to 1896, the first self-portrait to 1897. Since then Beckmann has been enthusiastic about foreign cultures. He was a poor student but showed extensive interest in art history early on. In 1899 he attended a private boarding school in a rectory in Ahlshausen near Gandersheim . The first surviving letters and drawings date from this time. He ran away from there the following winter. In 1900 he passed the entrance exam for the Grand Ducal Saxon Art School in Weimar . Anecdotal art of drawing reveals itself in Beckmann's early sheets as well as a sure feeling for form and the tendency towards the grotesque.


At the modern and liberal Weimar art school, Beckmann entered the class of the Norwegian portrait and genre painter Carl Frithjof Smith in 1901 , whom he considered his only teacher throughout his life. He took over the strong preliminary drawing from him and kept it for a lifetime. In addition, he met the Frankfurt painter Ugi Battenberg and the painter Minna Tube here in 1902 , and established lifelong friendships with both of them. A self-portrait with a wide open mouth from this period is considered to be the first surviving etching . The sheet is expressive and reveals the influence of Rembrandt van Rijn and Edvard Munch . With commendations for drawing and painting in his pocket, Beckmann left the academy in 1903 and went to Paris for a few months. Here he was particularly impressed by the works of Paul Cézanne . The young artist read and wrote a lot. In Paris, after a brief excursion into pointillism, the preliminary studies for his first chef d'œuvre, the oil painting Young Men by the Sea, were created . He traveled to Amsterdam , The Hague and Scheveningen , saw mainly works by Rembrandt, Gerard ter Borch , Frans Hals and Jan Vermeer and preferred to paint landscapes. In 1904 he set off on a trip to Italy, which ended in Geneva . He visited Ferdinand Hodler in his studio and on the way to Colmar saw the Isenheim Altarpiece, which was still little known at the time . In the landscapes and seascapes of the summer, the artist dealt with the overcoming of Art Nouveau and European Japonism . Some of these works show an independent, fragmentary composition. After breaking off his stay in Paris and traveling to Italy, Beckmann set up a studio in Berlin-Schöneberg (then Schöneberg near Berlin).

Early work

Memorial plaque on the house at Ringstrasse 17 in Berlin-Hermsdorf

In the summer of 1905 Beckmann worked on his painting Young Men by the Sea by the Danish North Sea (oil on canvas, 148 × 235 cm). The picture is stylistically influenced by Luca Signorelli and Hans von Marées with references to neoclassicism .

In 1906 Beckmann received the Villa Romana Prize for this painting from the German Association of Artists founded three years earlier . In the same year he took part in the 11th exhibition of the Berlin Secession with two works .

In the tradition of Edvard Munch , he dealt with the death of his mother in 1906 in two death scenes . He married his college friend Minna Tube and traveled with her to Paris and then to Florence for six months, as a scholarship holder of the Villa Romana. There he painted the portrait of my wife with a pink-violet background , a shimmering portrait of Minna Tube that hangs in the Hamburger Kunsthalle today . In 1907 Beckmann moved with his wife into a studio house she designed in Berlin-Hermsdorf . Beckmann was also accepted as a member of the Berlin Secession that year.

He declined the invitation to join the Dresden artist group Brücke , but joined the Berlin Secession. The young artist's will to fame was expressed above all in forced catastrophe scenarios; Impressionism and neoclassicism combined here in a brutal action painting. He rejected expressionism . In contrast to his large-format paintings, Beckmann used interiors and portraits, especially self-portraits; some of these works are fragrant and atmospherically subtle. Even in those years hand drawings of the perfection of the old masters were made. The drawing should always remain the backbone of Beckmann's art.

In 1908 the artist traveled again to Paris and in autumn he had a son, Peter Beckmann , who became known as a cardiologist and geriatric researcher. The following year he exhibited abroad for the first time and made the momentous acquaintance of the art writer Julius Meier-Graefe , who was a journalist for Beckmann until his death. Since 1909, the artist increasingly reinforced his old master's claim in a graphic oeuvre. In the same year, in the double portrait of Max Beckmann and Minna Beckmann-Tube, he set a monument to his relationship with his colleague and wife in the tradition of representative couple portraits à la Gainsborough . With veristic mass scenarios in a composition similar to that of a rumor , as in the scene from the fall of Messina , he placed himself in the succession of Rubens , even if the design and execution of such pictures remained somewhat half-baked in the young Beckmann.

Max Beckmann wanted to distinguish himself as a neoconservative counter-model to the radical abstraction that emerged around 1910 by painters such as Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso and the non-representationalism of Wassily Kandinsky . Like Max Liebermann and Lovis Corinth , he was looking for a modern form of figurative painting.

In 1910 Beckmann was elected to the board of directors of the Berlin Secession, at the age of 26 he was the youngest member there, but soon resigned. Two years earlier he had failed to found an exhibition organization independent of the dealer Paul Cassirer . From then on, he distanced himself from artists' associations, but continued to take part in the major DKB annual exhibitions in Mannheim (1913), Dresden (1927; there he was a member of the admissions jury), Cologne (1929), Stuttgart (1930), Essen (1931 ), Königsberg / Danzig (1932) and Hamburg (1936).

The art dealer Israel Ber Neumann and the publisher Reinhard Piper contributed to Beckmann's pre-war fame, which reached its peak around 1913, the year Hans Kaiser wrote the first monograph on him. Now the 29-year-old painter left the Secession entirely and helped found the Free Secession in 1914 . He continued to stay away from Expressionism, but was just as fascinated by the big city in graphics and painting. His program was now fixed: Max Beckmann would never work without point. Rather, he set himself the goal of expanding the legacy of classical art (space, color, traditional genres, mythology, symbolism). In March 1912 he stipulated: "The laws of art are eternal and immutable."

The First World War

"My art gets fed up here," remarked Beckmann during the First World War , which he considered a "national misfortune". The artist never fired a single shot during the war. “I don't shoot the French, I learned so much from them. Not to the Russians either, Dostoyevsky is my friend. ”In 1914 he served as a voluntary paramedic on the Eastern Front, and the following year in Flanders . His drawings from this period reflect the harshness of the war. They establish Beckmann's new, hard-contoured style. The artistic turnaround was flanked by the war prose of the letters in the war , which were still published during the war. In 1915 the artist suffered a nervous breakdown , served temporarily at the Imperial Hygiene Institute in Strasbourg and shortly afterwards settled in Frankfurt-Sachsenhausen . Here he lived in what is now the Max-Beckmann-Haus on Schweizer Straße 3, in the immediate vicinity of the Städel Museum, his future workplace. It now became clear that his personal breakdown should also be a new beginning. The relentless drawing style of the war is transferred to graphics (especially drypoint ) and painting. In the self-portrait as a nurse , the artist now pursues a relentless reflection of himself, struggling for the utmost truthfulness, just as he nests the war and post-war reality in a hard-edged and virtuoso manner in the graphic portfolios such as the lithograph cycle Die Hölle and reveals its substance. Christian iconography now has the task of depicting the human condition; a painting like Christ and the Sinner from 1917 shows the fallen man and the Jesus of practical ethics.

post war period

Beckmann's political interests grew in the Weimar Republic , and at the same time he studied secret doctrines such as theosophy , which had occupied many artists since the turn of the century. He kept a sharp eye on the physiognomies of his time, but was not looking for realism here, but what he called transcendent objectivity . Famous pictures of Frankfurt such as B. the Börneplatz synagogue or the Eiserner Steg with ice drifts on the Main were created during this time. Beckmann was closely involved in the intellectual life of his time through his friendships with the writer Benno Reifenberg , with Heinrich Simon , the editor-in-chief of the Frankfurter Zeitung , through his connections to the art dealer Günther Franke , the actor Heinrich George and artist colleagues like Alfred Kubin . He wrote dramas and poems, which after his death proved to be performable and worth reading. In addition to the extensive graphic work, self-portraits were again created, which made the sitter a chronicler not only of himself, but of his era.

The twenties

From 1922 Beckmann was supported by Lilly von Mallinckrodt-Schnitzler , who collected his pictures and made him better known in society. In 1924 Beckmann met the young Mathilde Kaulbach , daughter of Friedrich August von Kaulbach , in Vienna . He separated from Minna Tube and henceforth made his new wife under her Viennese nickname Quappi one of the most painted and drawn women in art history. Travels to Italy, Nice and Paris, in-depth studies of Gnostic, ancient Indian and theosophical teachings relaxed and expanded his artistic style. At the same time the color of his paintings increased. From 1925 he headed a master's studio at the art school of the Städel Museum in Frankfurt. His students included Theo Garve , Léo Maillet and Marie-Louise von Motesiczky . Paintings like Double Portrait Carnival or Italian Fantasy reflect the calming of the political situation as well as the bad premonitions that the golden age will soon end. In the spectacular picture Galleria Umberto, the artist suspected Mussolini's death as early as 1925 . Beckmann's biographer Stephan Reimertz speaks of the artist's foreface . At the height of the Weimar Republic, however, Beckmann once again supported the state as a Stresemann-German . In 1927 he painted the self-portrait in a tuxedo and wrote an essay entitled The Artist in the State . Beckmann's pronounced self-confidence was well known.

In 1928 his fame in Germany reached its climax with the Reichsehrenpreis Deutscher Kunst and the first comprehensive Beckmann retrospective in the Kunsthalle Mannheim . His art now shows grandiose perfection; it also reveals the sophisticated erotic that Beckmann always wanted to be. This role is one of the many masks behind which the fearful and sensitive artist hid. At the DKB anniversary exhibition ( 25 years of the Deutscher Künstlerbund ) in 1929 in the State House in Cologne at the Rheinpark , five oil paintings by Max Beckmann were on view. In 1930 the Venice Biennale showed six pictures by Beckmann, who was also represented at the annual exhibition of the Prague Secession that year . At the same time, the artist was violently attacked by the National Socialist press. In Paris he briefly found a certain amount of attention among intellectuals who tried to break away from both surrealism and the dominance of Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. In 1932 the Berlin National Gallery set up a Beckmann Hall, the so-called New Department of the National Gallery Berlin in the Kronprinzenpalais . The artist started with the first of ten triptychs that year. Started under the name Departure , he finished it years later as Departure .

National Socialism and Emigration

In April 1933 Beckmann was dismissed from his professorship at the Frankfurt Städelschule without notice . His students, but also other young artists who were influenced by Beckmann, such as B. the painter Joseph Mader , had no more opportunities to be artistically active; later one spoke of a lost generation . Some of their works were burned by the Nazis on the Römerberg . The Beckmann Hall in the Kronprinzenpalais was used differently. Max Beckmann was one of the most hated artists for the Nazis. He was prominently represented in the exhibitions on degenerate art that toured throughout Germany.

Beckmann left Frankfurt and lived in Berlin until he emigrated. He got to know the writer Stephan Lackner , who remained a loyal friend, collector and interpreter to him. During this time Beckmann also painted many anecdotal pictures such as the ox stable and The Little Fish , self-portraits like the one with a black cap or the glass ball, which reflected the uncertainty of his situation and tried to cover it up. He also started sculptural work and created the bronze Man in the Dark , in which his position as an undesired artist is manifested. Until the closure of the last DKB-Annual Exhibition 1936 in Hamburg Kunstverein - his contribution to the exhibition Landungskai by storm (1936, oil on canvas, 41 x 80.5 cm) is now in the possession of the Frankfurt Städel Museum - was Beckmann member of the German Artist Union , in which he had already entered in 1906. Other works by Beckmann were shown in the 1937 exhibition “Degenerate Art” in the Munich Court Arcades .

After the radio broadcast of Hitler's speech at the opening of the simultaneous Great German Art Exhibition in Munich, Max Beckmann left Germany forever. In his self-chosen exile in Amsterdam, he painted self-portraits such as The Liberated One , on which he breaks chains. Deeply enigmatic images and other triptychs , some with mythological themes, shape his work in exile.

On June 21, 1938 Beckmann made a programmatic speech entitled "About My Painting" in the New Burlington Galleries in London:

“What matters most to me in my work is the ideality that lies behind the apparent reality. I am looking for the bridge to the invisible from the given present - similar to a famous Kabbalist once said: “If you want to grasp the invisible, penetrate as deeply as you can - into the visible.” For me it is always about that to capture the magic of reality and translate that reality into painting. - Making the invisible visible through reality. - That may sound like a paradox - but it is really reality that forms the real mystery of existence! "

- Max Beckmann

He kept in touch with German resistance groups , including Gisèle van Waterschoot van der Gracht and Wolfgang Frommel in Amsterdam. Beckmann had to undergo muster from the German Wehrmacht and had applied for a visa for the United States since 1939. However, his efforts to leave the country failed, so that he had to stay in Amsterdam throughout the war.

Last years

It was not until the summer of 1947 that Max and Mathilde Beckmann received visas for the USA. From the end of September the artist taught at the Art School of Washington University in St. Louis . His American students included Walter Barker and Jack Bice . In May 1948, the Saint Louis Art Museum showed a large Beckmann retrospective. The collector Morton D. May began building up his Beckmann collection, which is now the most extensive in the world.

In addition to traveling across the US and teaching in Boulder ( Colorado ) and Carmel ( California ), Max Beckmann accepted a professorship for painting and drawing at the Art School of the Brooklyn Museum in New York at the end of 1949 . It became increasingly difficult for him to assert his art against the now popular non-representational painting. On December 27, 1950, Max Beckmann died of a heart attack in the middle of the street in Manhattan (Central Park West, 61st St.). His tenth triptych Amazons remained unfinished.

Market value

Max Beckmann's works fetch very high prices. In 2001, his self-portrait with Horn sold for $ 22.6 million in New York. His painting View of Suburbs by the Sea near Marseille from 1937 was auctioned in November 2009 for 2.6 million euros; This made it the most expensive German painting in the economically difficult auction year 2009. In 2017, his painting Hell of the Birds was auctioned for 40.8 million euros. Never before has so much been paid for a work of art from German Expressionism. Beckmann's female head in blue and gray (The Egyptian) was auctioned on May 31, 2018 for 4.7 million euros; this is the highest amount offered so far for a work of art at an auction in Germany.


Catalog raisonnés

  • Hans Martin Freiherr von Erffa (eds.): Barbara Göpel and Erhard Göpel : Max Beckmann. Catalog of the paintings. (= Writings of the Max Beckmann Society . 3). 2 volumes. Bern 1976.
  • James Hofmaier: Max Beckmann. Catalog raisonné of his prints . 2 volumes. Bern 1990.
  • Stephan von Wiese: Max Beckmann. The graphic work 1903–1925 . Düsseldorf 1978.
  • Mayen Beckmann, Siegfried Gohr (eds.): Max Beckmann. Watercolors and pastels. Catalog raisonné of the works on paper . Cologne 2006.
  • Benno Reifenberg, Wilhelm Hausenstein: Max Beckmann. Works and life / The painter during this period. Publishing house R. Piper & Co., Munich 1949.
  • Gerd Presler, Christiane Zeiller: Max Beckmann: The sketch books - The Sketchbooks. 2 volumes. Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern 2010, ISBN 978-3-7757-2274-2 . (Catalog of works German / English)


  • Johannes Guthmann: Euridike's return in three songs. With new lithographs by Max Beckmann . Berlin 1909.
  • Six lithographs for the New Testament . Berlin 1911
  • Seven original lithographs for Dostoyevsky's From a House of the Dead . The convict's bath. In: Art and Artists. Volume 11, 1912, pp. 289-296.
  • The first week of the war in Berlin according to reports from Berlin daily newspapers with seven drawings by Max Beckmann. In: Art and Artists. Volume 13, 1914/15, pp. 53-60.
  • War songs of the XV. Corps / 1914–1915 / from the Vosges to Ypres . Berlin undated (1915)
  • Kasimir Edschmid : The princess. With 6 original etchings by Max Beckmann . Weimar 1917. New edition Frankfurt, including 1972
  • City night. Seven lithographs by Max Beckmann for poems by Lili von Braunbehrens . Munich 1921.
  • Clemens Brentano : The fairy tale of Fanferlieschen Schönefüßchen. With 8 etchings by Max Beckmann . Berlin 1924. (Reprint Leipzig 1977)
  • Stephan Lackner : Humans are not pets. Drama. With 7 original lithographs by Max Beckmann . Paris 1937. (New edition Worms 1977; world premiere: Tübingen 1993)
  • Apocalypse . With 27 lithographs by Max Beckmann . Frankfurt 1943. New editions Frankfurt among others 1974; Leipzig 1989
  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Faust II With pictures by Max Beckmann . Frankfurt 1957 (Munich 1970; Frankfurt 1982)


  • Contribution in: In the fight for art. The answer to the “protest of German artists” . Munich 1911, p. 37.
  • Thoughts on contemporary and out-of-date art. A reply from Max Beckmann. In: Pan. Volume 2, 1912, pp. 499-502.
  • Contribution to: The new program. In: Art and Artists. Volume 12, 1914, p. 301.
  • Field post letters from East Prussia with ten drawings by Max Beckmann. Compiled by Minna Beckmann-Tube . In: Art and Artists. Volume 13, 1914/15, pp. 126-133.
  • Field post letters from the west from Max Beckmann. Compiled by Minna Beckmann-Tube. In: Art and Artists. Volume 13, 1914/15, pp. 461-467.
  • Letters in war. Collected by Minna Tube. Berlin 1916.
  • Foreword to: Max Beckmann. Graphics. Graphisches Kabinett IB Neumann. Berlin 1917, p. 3.
  • Contribution in: Creative confession. (= Tribune of Art and Time. Volume 13). Berlin 1920, pp. 61-67.
  • Contribution to: On the value of criticism (A survey to the artists). In: The Ararat. Volume 2, 1921, p. 132.
  • The hotel . Drama in four acts. (written 1921) Munich 1984; World premiere: Munich 1984.
  • Ebbi . Comedy by Max Beckmann. Vienna (second printing of the Johannespresse) 1924; Reprint Berlin 1973; First performance: Paderborn 1980.
  • Autobiography. In: Ed. R. Piper & Co on May 19, 1924. o. O., o. J., (Magdeburg 1924) pp. 10-11.
  • The artist in the state. In: European Review. Volume 3, 1927, pp. 288-291.
  • The social position of the artist. From the black tightrope walker. (written 1927) In: Special print for the participants of the Pirckheimer annual meeting from May 25th to 27th, 1984 in Cottbus. Leipzig 1984.
  • [Six sentences]. In: Max Beckmann. The collected work. Paintings, graphics, hand drawings from the years 1905 to 1927. Städtische Kunsthalle Mannheim 1928, p. 3 f.
  • Contribution to: Now say 'how about - politics? In: Frankfurter Zeitung . Christmas edition 1928.
  • About my painting. Lecture given in the New Burlington Galleries, London 1938. In: Supplement: Biographical data and personal reports. to the picture portfolio: Examples: Art in pursuit. Degenerate Art (exhibition) 1937 in Munich. Edited by the State Institute for Education and Training in Stuttgart. Neckar, Villingen-Schwenningen 1998, pp. 7–12 (with detailed biography; also texts by Gustav Schiefler on Die Brücke zu Erich Heckel ; by Karl Hofer , Paul Klee , Oskar Schlemmer, among others) Translation into English: On my painting. Buchholz Gallery Curt Valentin , New York 1941. German version online: see web links
  • Speech, Given to his first Class in the United State at Washington University in St. Louis. Held in 1947. In: Mathilde Q. Beckmann: My life with Max Beckmann. Munich 1983, 1985, pp. 198-200.
  • Letters to a Woman Painter. In: College Art Journal. Volume 9, Fall 1949, pp. 39-43.
  • Address to the Friends and the Philosophical Faculty of Washington University in St. Louis 1950. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung . 8/9 June 1951.
  • Can Painting be Taught? Beckmann's Answer. In: The Art News. Volume 50, No. 1, 1951, pp. 39f.
  • Peter Beckmann , Joachim Schaffer (Ed.): The library of Max Beckmann. Underlining, comments, notes and sketches on his books . Wernersche Verlagsgesellschaft, Worms 1992.
  • Max Beckmann: About my painting . In: Architecture and Art. Vol. 36, Issue 3, 1949, pp. 92-95.

Letters and diaries

Volume I: 1899-1925. Munich 1993
Volume II: 1925-1937. Munich 1994
Volume III: 1937-1950. Munich 1996
  • Letters to IB Neumann . Edited by Mayen Beckmann and Michael Semler. Private print, Berlin 1997.
  • Early diaries. 1903/04. 1912/13 . Edited by Doris Schmidt. Munich 1985.
  • Live in Berlin. Diary 1908–1909 . Edited by Hans Kinkel. Munich 1966; New edition Munich 1983.
  • Diaries 1940–1950 . Compiled by Mathilde Q. Beckmann. Edited by Erhard Göpel . Munich 1955. New edition Munich 1979

Memories of Max Beckmann

  • Reinhard Piper : My life as a publisher. Morning - afternoon . Munich 1964.
  • Stephan Lackner : I remember Max Beckmann well . Mainz 1967.
  • Lili von Braunbehrens : Figures and poems around Max Beckmann . Dortmund 1969.
  • Stephan Lackner : Self-portrait with a pen . Berlin 1988.
  • Mathilde Q. Beckmann : My life with Max Beckmann . Munich 1983, 1985.
  • Minna Tube : Memories of Max Beckmann. In: Doris Schmidt (ed.): Max Beckmann: Early diaries . Munich 1985, pp. 157-186.
  • Marie-Louise von Motesiczky : Max Beckmann as a teacher. Memories of a pupil of the painter. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine. January 11, 1964; again in: Marie-Louise von Motesiczky . Catalog of the Austrian Gallery in the Upper Belvedere. Vienna 1994.


Monographs on the complete works

  • Hans Kaiser: Max Beckmann. Berlin 1913.
  • Stephan Kaiser: Max Beckmann. Stuttgart 1962.
  • Friedhelm W. Fischer: The painter Max Beckmann. Cologne 1972.
  • ders .: Max Beckmann - symbol and worldview. Munich 1972.
  • Stephan Lackner : Max Beckmann. Cologne 1979.
  • Peter Beckmann : Max Beckmann - Life and Work . Stuttgart / Zurich 1982.
  • Stephan Lackner : Max Beckmann . Munich 1983.
  • Reinhard Spieler: Max Beckmann 1884–1950 - The Path to Myth . Cologne 1994.
  • Uwe M. Schneede : Max Beckmann. The painter of his time . Munich 2009
  • Stephan Reimertz: Max Beckmann. (rororo monograph). 5th edition. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1995. 2009.

Monographs on individual works, cycles and groups of works

sorted by year of publication

  • Erhard Göpel: Max Beckmann - The draftsman. Munich 1954.
  • Hildegard Zenser: Max Beckmann - self-portraits. Munich 1984.
  • F. Erpel: Max Beckmann - life and work. The self-portraits. Munich 1985.
  • Dietrich Schubert: Max Beckmann, Resurrection and Appearance of the Dead . Wernersche Verlagsgesellschaft, Worms 1985, ISBN 3-88462-039-8 .
  • Max Beckmann “Self-Portrait with a Red Scarf” 1917. In: Norbert Berghof (Red.): Examples: Art in the persecution. Degenerate Art (exhibition) Munich 1937. Portfolio (with color illus.) And booklet: life data and personal testimonies. Neckar, Villingen-Schwenningen 1987, DNB 890463743 .
  • Dagmar Walden-Awodu: "Birth" and "Death". Max Beckmann in exile in Amsterdam: an investigation into the genesis of his late work (= manuscripts for art history in the Werner publishing company 48). Wernersche Verlagsgesellschaft, Worms 1995, ISBN 3-88462-947-6 .
  • Michael Viktor Schwarz: Philippe Soupault on Max Beckmann. Beckmann and Surrealism. Freiburg i. Br. 1996, ISBN 3-7930-9126-0 .
  • Helmut G. Schütz: Sphinx Beckmann. Exemplary approaches to Max Beckmann's art . scaneg Verlag, Munich 1997, ISBN 3-89235-112-0 .
  • Stephan Reimertz: A portrait of love: Minna Tube, artist in the shadow of Max Beckmann. Reinbek 2002.
  • Christiane Zeiller: Max Beckmann - The early years, 1899–1907. Dissertation. VDG, Weimar 2003, ISBN 3-89739-359-X .
  • Jörg Schneider: Religion in Crisis. The visual artists Ludwig Meidner, Max Beckmann and Otto Dix master their experience of the First World War. Gütersloh 2006, ISBN 3-579-03495-2 .
  • Max Beckmann. Dream of life. Edited by Zentrum Paul Klee. Hatje Cantz Verlag, Ostfildern 2006, ISBN 3-7757-1694-7 .
  • Max Beckmann. Exile in Amsterdam. Ed. Pinakothek der Moderne. Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern 2007, ISBN 978-3-7757-1837-0 .
  • Françoise Forster-Hahn: Max Beckmann in California. Exile, remembrance and renewal. Deutscher Kunstverlag, Munich / Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-422-06733-2 .
  • Anabelle Kienle: Max Beckmann in America. Michael Imhof Verlag, Petersberg 2008, ISBN 978-3-86568-243-7 .
  • Gerd Presler: Max Beckmann. The secret writing of life. In: The sketchbook. A stroke of luck in art history. Weingarten 2017, ISBN 978-3-00-056940-1 , pp. 114–121. (German English)

Exhibition catalogs

  • Klaus Gallwitz (Ed.): Max Beckmann - The Triptychen in the Städel . Catalog for the exhibition in the Städt. Gallery in the Städelschen Kunstinstitut Frankfurt / Main April 16 - June 21, 1981. Frankfurt / Main 1981.
  • Max Beckmann - Hell 1919 . Catalog for the exhibition of the Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen Preußischer Kulturbesitz Berlin , October 21 - December 18, 1983. Berlin 1983, ISBN 3-88609-099-X .
  • Max Beckmann - Frankfurt 1915-1933 . An exhibition for the 100th birthday. Municipal gallery in the Städelsche Kunstinstitut Frankfurt / Main November 18, 1983 to February 12, 1984.
  • Carla Schulz-Hoffmann, Judith C. Weiss (eds.): Max Beckmann retrospective . Catalog for the exhibitions: Haus der Kunst Munich February 25 - April 22, 1984, Nationalgalerie Berlin May 18 - July 29, 1984, The Saint Louis Art Museum September 7 - November 4, 1984, Los Angeles County Museum of Art 9 December 1984 to February 3, 1985. Munich 1984.
  • Klaus Gallwitz (Ed.): Max Beckmann. Painting 1905–1950. Catalog for the exhibition Museum für bildende Künste Leipzig, July 21 - September 23, 1990, Stuttgart 1990.
  • Max Beckmann self-portraits . Catalog for the exhibitions Hamburger Kunsthalle March 19 - May 23, 1993 and State Gallery of Modern Art Munich June 9 - July 25, 1993. Stuttgart 1993.
  • Max Beckmann - Landscape as a Stranger. Catalog for the exhibitions Hamburger Kunsthalle, August 7 - November 8, 1998, Kunsthalle Bielefeld November 29, 1998 to February 14, 1999, Kunstforum Wien March 12 - June 6, 1999. Ostfildern-Ruit 1998.
  • Christian Lenz : Stephan Lackner - Max Beckmann's friend with contributions by Stephan Lackner, Marco Pesarese and Christiane Zeiller. Booklets of the Max Beckmann Archive 5th catalog for the exhibition in the State Gallery of Modern Art Munich February 3 - April 9, 2000.
  • Christian Lenz: Max Beckmann and the Old Masters - “A very nice series of friends” . Catalog for the exhibition in the Alte Pinakothek Munich (2000). Heidelberg 2000, ISBN 3-926318-77-5 .
  • Klaus Gallwitz , Ortrud Westheider: Max Beckmann - People by the Sea . Catalog for the exhibition of the Bucerius Kunst Forum Hamburg November 9, 2003 to February 1, 2004. Ostfildern-Ruit 2003.
  • Thomas Döring, Christian Lenz : Max Beckmann self-portraits - drawing and printmaking . Catalog for the exhibitions: Neue Pinakothek Munich November 17, 2000 to January 28, 2001 and Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum Braunschweig February 22 to May 6, 2001. (Heidelberg) 2000.
  • Pinakothek der Moderne (Ed.): Max Beckmann - Exil in Amsterdam. Ostfildern 2007 (Hatje Cantz), ISBN 978-3-7757-1837-0 . Catalog for the exhibition in the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (April 6 - August 19, 2007) and in the Pinakothek der Moderne , Munich (September 13, 2007 to January 6, 2008).
  • Bernhard Mendes Bürgi, Nina Peter (Ed.): Max Beckmann - The landscapes. Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern 2011, ISBN 978-3-7757-3146-1 . Catalog for the exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Basel , September 4, 2011 to January 22, 2012.
  • Jutta Schütt: Beckmann & America. Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern 2011, ISBN 978-3-7757-2986-4 . Catalog for the exhibition at the Städelschen Kunstinstitut , Frankfurt am Main, October 7, 2011 to January 8, 2012.
  • Max Beckmann. Apocalypse. Visions of the end times in tradition and modernity. Catalog for the exhibition in the Murnau Castle Museum , Murnau 2010, ISBN 978-3-932276-37-8 .
  • Roman Zieglgänsberger (arrangement): “O my darling, I'll be so angry with you.” Quappi and Max Beckmann in the painting Female Nude with Dog, catalog for the exhibition at the Museum Wiesbaden 2012, ISBN 978-3-89258-093-5 .
  • Roman Zieglgänsberger (ed.): Goethe - Faust - Beckmann, catalog for the exhibition at the Museum Wiesbaden, Munich 2014, ISBN 978-3-7774-2283-1 .
  • Karin Schick, Hubertus Gaßner (Ed.): Max Beckmann. The still life . Prestel Verlag , Munich 2014, ISBN 978-3-7913-5409-5 . Catalog for the exhibition in the Hamburger Kunsthalle , September 5, 2014 to January 18, 2015.
  • Museum Barberini (ed.), Kunsthalle Bremen (ed.): Max Beckmann. World theater . Prestel Verlag , Munich 2017, ISBN 978-3-7913-5696-9 . Catalog for the exhibitions in the Kunsthalle Bremen , September 30, 2017 to February 4, 2018, and the Museum Barberini , Potsdam, February 24, 2018 to June 10, 2018.


  • Max Beckmann. The painter. (Alternative title: Max Beckmann - Departure. ) Documentary, Germany, 2012, cinema and DVD : 97 min., TV: 52:30 min., Script and direction: Michael Trabitzsch, music: Baxter & Larsen, Michael Rodach, production: Prounenfilm , NDR , arte , first broadcast: January 16, 2013 on arte, German cinema release: June 6, 2013, table of contents by 3sat , film page with preview.
  • The painter Max Beckmann - face to face. Documentary, Germany, 2011, 29:20 min., Script and director: André Meier, production: MDR , series: CVs, first broadcast: October 20, 2011 at MDR, synopsis from MDR.
  • Max Beckmann in America. Documentary, Germany, 2011, 26:15 min., Script and director: Barbara Dickenberger, production: Hessischer Rundfunk , summary by arte .


A primary school in Nuremberg is named after Beckmann.

Web links

Commons : Max Beckmann  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ King Albert Gymnasium (Royal Gymnasium until 1900) in Leipzig: Student album 1880–1904 / 05 , Friedrich Gröber, Leipzig 1905.
  2. Harald Olbrich (Ed.): Lexicon of Art. Volume 1: A - Cim. EA Seemann Verlag, Leipzig 2004, ISBN 3-86502-084-4 , p. 456.
  3. Beckmann, Max, Berlin: 15. Sick children a. 16. Gray Sea. P. 14. (accessed November 27, 2018).
  4. Max Beckmann in the membership directory of the Berlin Secession. P. 41. (accessed November 27, 2018).
  6. ^ Deutscher Künstlerbund : 1936 - Forbidden Pictures. Exhibition catalog of the 34th annual exhibition in Bonn. Berlin 1986, p. 28.
  7. Ulrich Weisner: Constants in Max Beckmann's work. In: Ulrich Weisner, Klaus Gallwitz (Ed.): Max Beckmann. The early pictures. Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Bielefeld 1982, pp. 157–173, here p. 157.
  8. ^ Illustration of a double portrait of the Carnival , 1925 by Max Beckmann , in the Museum Kunstpalast .
  9. Christoph Schulz-Monz: On the question of the modernity of Max Beckmann's early work. In: Ulrich Weisner, Klaus Gallwitz (Ed.): Max Beckmann. The early pictures. Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Bielefeld 1982, pp. 137–145, here p. 137.
  10. s. Catalog of the Deutscher Künstlerbund Cologne 1929. May – September 1929 in the State House , M. DuMont Schauberg, Cologne 1929. ( Beckmann, Max, Frankfurt AM cat. No. 26: aerial acrobats fig. P. 44; 27: sunrise ; 28: spring landscape ; 29 : Bathing cabin, Scheveningen ; 30: view of the blue sea ).
  11. 1936 - Forbidden Images. Pp. 28/29.
  12. The reality of dreams in the pictures: Essays u. Lectures, from diaries, letters, conversations, 1903–1950. Reclam, Leipzig 1987, ISBN 3-379-00031-0 .
  13. ^ Florian Illies : Art market. On the banks of history. In: The time . December 3, 2009, No. 50, p. 67. Many daily newspapers such as the Berliner Morgenpost named a purchase price of 2.2 million euros. The difference is explained by the auction fee (brokerage fee) of 16% + VAT = 19.04%.
  14. Like from a dream .
  15. ^ Max Beckmann School: Max Beckmann Elementary School Nuremberg Worzeldorf. Retrieved May 18, 2017 .