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Spaightwood Galleries, Inc.

120 Main Street, Upton MA 01568-6193; 800-809-3343; email

Last updated: 1-11-14
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Max Beckmann (German, 1884-1950): Original lithographs

German Expressionism: People / Lovers / Social Interaction

"Käthe Kollwitz and German Expressionism" featured over fifty works by Käthe Kollwitz plus additional works by Josef Albers,
Ernst Barlach, Rudolf Bauer, Max Beckmann, Peter Behrens, Heinrich Campendonck, Marc Chagall, Lovis Corinth,
Otto Dix, Lyonel Feininger, Conrad Felixmuller, Hans Fronius, Alfons Graber, Otto Greiner, Georg Grosz, Erich Heckel,
Hannah Hoch, Karl Hofer,Wassily Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Paul Klee, Oskar Kokoschka, Ludwig Meidner,
Edvard Munch, Gabrielle Munter, Heinrich Nauen, Emile Nolde, Max Pechstein, Hilla von Rebay, Georges Rouault,
Rudolf Schlichter, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Siegfried Schott, Georg Tappert, Wilhelm Wagner, and others.

German Expressionist Drawings

The Russians: Chagall, Sonia Delaunay, Goncharova, Larionov, and Malevich
One of the most powerful painters and printmakers of German Expressionism, Beckmann's artistic life was shaped by the horrors he witnessed as a soldier in the First World War. Though he was born into a merchant family, his later work suggests that he felt that feelings did not come easily to those who had too much. During the 1920s he exhibited with the artists of the New Objectivity group, the "Neue Sachlichkeit." Yet where artists like Otto Dix and George Grosz were concerned with the signs of the nightmare from which Germany for so long could not awaken, Beckmann was more interested in the recurring manifestations of the age-old vices of mankind, shown as reaching beyond the particular to the general. After the Nazis took power, Beckmann was fired from his professorship at the State Art University (Städelesches Kunstinstitut) in Frankfurt, having been singled out as a "cultural bolshevik." In 1937 he left Germany and went to the Netherlands, spending the war years in Amsterdam. His work, all of which was condemned by the Nazis as "Degenerate,"has been widely collected and shown in the U.S.

Selected Bibliography: [Max Beckmann], Max Beckmann Retrospektive: Katalog der Zeichnungen, Aquarelle und Druckgraphik, hrsg. von Carla Schulz-Hoffmann und Judith C. Weiss (München: Prestel, 1984); [Max Beckmann], Max Beckmann in exile (NY: Guggenheim Museum, 1996); Hans Belting, Max Beckmann. Die Tradition als Problem in der Kunst der Moderne (München: Deutscher Kunstverlag, 1984); Friedman W. Fischer, Max Beckmann trans. P. S. Falla (NY: Phaidon, 1973); R. Heller & D. Britt, Max Beckmann: Self-Portrait in Words. Collected Writings & Statements, 1903-1950, ed. & annotated B.C. Buenger; new tr. by B.C. Buenger; (Chicago/London.: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1997); James Hofmaier, Max Beckmann. Catalogue raisonné of his prints. (Bern: Kornfeld, 1990), 2 vols; Karin von Maur, Max Beckmann. Meisterwerke 1907-1950 (Stuttgart: Gerd Hatje, 1994); Musee National d'Art Moderne, Max Beckmann (Paris: Musee National d'Art Moderne, 1968); Peter Selz [with contributions by Harold Joachim and Perry Rathbone], Max Beckmann (NY: Museum of Modern Art, 1964), Peter Selz, Max Beckmann (New York: Abbeville Press, 1996). See also Bruce Davis, German Expressionist Prints and Drawings. The Robert Gore Rifkind Center for Expressionist Studies, Vol. 2: Catalogue of the Collection (LA: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2006) for a handy collection of thousands of works from the period, enabling one to grasp a quick sense of Beckmann's artistic milieu.
Pierrot und Maske (Gallwitz 146, Davis-Rifkind 135). Original lithograph 1920. Edition of 600 published in Deutsche Graphiker der Gegenwart / German Prints of Today (Leipzig, 1920). Although this image should not feel threatening (except, perhaps, to those with clown phobias), this clown, like Mac the Knife, the hero of Berthold Brecht and Kurt Weill's Three-Penny Opera, has sharp teeth and they appear to be "pearly white." Who knows what lurks in the heart of this musical clown and his little dog? Image size: 363x203mm. Price: $3000.
Tanzende / Dancing (Gallwitz 197, Davis-Rifkind 144). Original woodcut, 1922. 2370 unsigned proofs for the deluxe art review Ganymed (Bd. 4) published in 1922 by R. Piper. From 1925 to 1933 (when he was fired by the Nazis) he was a professor in the Staedel Art Institute in Frankfurt. In 1937 he was included in the Nazi's Degenerate Art Exhibition and he left Germany and lived in Amsterdam. In 1946 he moved to the U.S., where he lived, taught, and exhibited for the rest of his life. Reproduced as the frontispiece to Max Beckmann Graphics, the catalogue to a traveling exhibition organized by Jason D. Wong of the Tucson Art Center, which was shown at the Fine Arts Gallery of California State University, NOrthbridge, the Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Phoenix Art Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Art, and the Seattle Art Museum. Image size: 180x103mm. Price: $3000.
Sarika mit Zigarette (Gallwitz 198, Hofmaier 229). Original lithograph on Japon paper measuring 775x491mm, 1922. Edition of 20, published by R. Piper signed lower right between right hand and left elbow. Very scarce on this paper. There was also an edition on Bütten. Image size: 614x366mm. Price: $8500.
Lovers (Gallwitz 267). Original lithograph, 1923. Edition unknown: (c. 1000 signed impressions?). Image size: 242x197mm. Price: SOLD

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