Max Beckmann

German (1884 - 1950)
Max Beckmann Die Hölle (Hell): Die Strasse (The Street) 1919 © DACS 2018. © DACS 2017.

Biography

Born 1884
Died 1950
Nationality German
Birth place Leipsic
Death place New York City

Beckmann was born in Leipzig. He studied in Weimar and Paris before settling in Berlin. At the outbreak of war he volunteered for the medical corps, but in 1915 suffered a nervous breakdown and was later discharged. After seeing the devastating effects of the war on the people of Germany and on the country itself, he began to question the values of the world. At about this time he moved away from Impressionism and adopted a more angular, expressionist style. Much of his work takes as its starting point political and social changes in Germany but ultimately his chief concerns were with spiritual values.

Glossary terms

  • The term Degenerate Art (German: Entarte Kunst), was coined in the 1930s by the Nazis to ridicule modern art that did not fit with Hitler’s vision.  Confiscated by the German government, exhibitions of "Degenerate" artworks took place in cities including Berlin, Dresden and Leipzig. In addition to this ridicule, the Mazi's forbade artists branded with the term from exhibiting or holding teaching posts.

  • A German art movement of the 1920s and early 1930s. It was partly a response to the experience of the First World War, with images containing elements of satire and social commentary. Stylistically it was sober and restrained, moving away from Expressionism to depictions based on close observation. Major figures associated with this style are George Grosz and Otto Dix.