Ger­man painter Max Beck­mann re­turns to Man­hat­tan in new show

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

In De­cem­ber 1950, the painter Max Beck­mann ven­tured out of his New York home to see his “Self-Por­trait in Blue Jacket,” then on view at the city’s Metropoli­tan Mu­seum of Art. The Ger­man artist never made it: he suf­fered a fa­tal heart at­tack steps from Cen­tral Park at age 66. To­day, the mu­seum will open a new exhibition called “Max Beck­mann in New York” to cel­e­brate his con­nec­tion to the city where he set­tled in Septem­ber 1949 and lived out the last months of his life.

Be­fore the Nazi regime la­beled his works “de­gen­er­ate” and re­moved them from Ger­man mu­se­ums in 1937, Beck­mann (1884-1850) en­joyed great ac­claim in his home coun­try, with top art deal­ers pre­sent­ing his work to pri­vate col­lec­tors. He left his na­tive land for Am­s­ter­dam, where he lived for a decade, be­fore head­ing to St Louis, Mis­souri for a tem­po­rary teach­ing po­si­tion.

He ul­ti­mately landed in New York, his third res­i­dence in ex­ile. The painter de­scribed the city-then evolv­ing into a ma­jor art cen­ter-as “a pre-war Berlin mul­ti­plied a hun­dred­fold,” and painted the ma­jor works “Fall­ing Man” and “The Town (City Night).” The artist’s oeu­vre in­cluded self-por­traits, in­te­ri­ors, land­scapes and trip­ty­chs. His rich blocks of color are brought into stark relief by thick, black lines.

New York had al­ready known Beck­mann for more than two decades be­fore he ar­rived, thanks to two Berlin art deal­ers who sold his art to New York col­lec­tors. The Met exhibition, on dis­play un­til Fe­bru­ary 2017, will fea­ture 14 paint­ings the artist cre­ated while liv­ing in Man­hat­tan, as well as 25 ad­di­tional works from New York col­lec­tions dat­ing from 1920 to 1948.”New York is re­ally grandiose,” Beck­mann once wrote. “But it stinks of burned fat, just like the sac­ri­fi­cial meal of the slain en­e­mies among the sav­ages.” “But nev­er­the­less-crazy, crazy, crazy!” — AFP

A woman looks at “Self-Por­trait in Blue Jacket” (1950) Oc­to­ber 17, 2016.

A woman looks at “Self-por­trait with Horn” (1938) Oc­to­ber 17, 2016 dur­ing a press pre­view for the exhibition called “Max Beck­mann in New York”.

A man looks at ‘Fall­ing Man’ (1950) Oc­to­ber 17, 2016 dur­ing a press pre­view for the exhibition called ‘Max Beck­mann in New York’ at the Metropoli­tan Mu­seum of Art in New York. — AFP photos

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