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Beckmann
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Beckmann (Hardback)

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Synopsis

Max Beckmann (1884-1950) found his central theme in the loneliness of the twentieth century man, threatened by catastrophe and torn between materialism and freedom of mind and spirit. His early pictures showed the influence of Impressionism, with a preponderance of biblical, historical, and allegorical themes. World War I made a deep impression on him: somewhere between Expressionism and Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity), the succinct forms and hard contours in his memorable paintings and graphic works showed man at the limit of physical and mental endurance. Later, the harshness and severity of his style softened and his colors became more radiant, but the monumentality remained. Theater, circus, and music hall became parables of human existence. Beckmann's work is concerned with the fundamental conditions of human existence and the tragic entanglement of the human being dependent on the whims of gods, sexuality, and society.

His relentless search for knowledge, his uncompromising commitment to the picture, and his belief in the power of its form and color give his work it's distinctive, fascinating character, and have earned him a high-ranking place among the artists of the twentieth century.

Reinhard Spieler, born 1964, studied art history, classical archaeology and modern German literature in Munich, Berlin and Paris. He received his doctorate in 1997 for a work on Max Beckmann's triptychs. He has been director of the Wilhelm Hack Museum in Ludwigshafen on the Rhine since 2007 and teaches at the Kunstakademie Dusseldorf and at the universities of Dusseldorf, Bern and Heidelberg. He has published frequently on classical modern and contemporary art.

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