The Untitled Magazine attended a special preview of “Max Beckmann in New York” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Check out our gallery above of images from the exhibit and read below for additional information.
Opening on October 19, 2016, “Max Beckmann in New York”puts a spotlight on the artist’s special connection with New York City. It features 14 paintings that Beckmann created while living in New York from 1949 to 1950, as well as 25 works, dating from 1920 to 1948, from New York collections. The show assembles several groups of iconic works, including self-portraits; mythical, expressionist interiors; robust, colorful portraits of women and performers; landscapes; and triptychs.
During the preview curator, Sabine Rewald, shed insights on the fascinating life of Max Beckmann, specifically his self portraits, which show a person impervious to life’s hardships. In fact Beckmann was the opposite. Rewald noted:
“The Life of Max Beckmann was one of ups and downs. The pictures that you see, the self portraits, show him as a very tough, invulnerable creature but that is deceiving. He was a very sensitive, vulnerable person.” -Sabine Rewald
During the late 1920s, Max Beckmann was at the pinnacle of his career in Germany—his work was presented by prestigious art dealers and he moved in a circle of influential writers, critics, publishers, and collectors. After the National Socialists denounced his work as “degenerate” and confiscated it from German museums in 1937, Beckmann immigrated to Holland. After the war Beckmann accepted a temporary teaching position in Saint Louis, Missouri. He made his move to America permanent in 1948, seeing his emigration as marking the end of his exile. In early September 1949 Beckmann moved to New York City where he was instantly inspired.
“He felt already that America was the end of his exile. He received in early 1949, an offer to teach at the Brooklyn Museum art school and with relishhe accepted. He came here in early September 1949. He fell in love with New York. He thought it was like Berlin one hundred times over. He wrote to his first wife that you hear 7-10 languages on the street. He loved to teach. He took walks.” -Sabine Rewald
In late December 1950, Beckmann set out from his apartment on the Upper West Side of New York to see his Self-Portrait in Blue Jacket (1950), which was on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in the exhibition American Painting Today. However, on the corner of 69th Street and Central Park West, the 66-year-old artist suffered a fatal heart attack and never made it to the Museum. The poignant circumstance of the artist’s death served as the inspiration for the exhibition.
The exhibit opens October 19th and runs through February 20th, 2017.