Beckmann, Max

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Beckmann, Max

Max Beckmann (mäks bĕk´män), 1884–1950, German painter. A member of the Berlin secession from 1908 to 1911, he was impressionistic in his early style. A subsequent expressionistic phase was altered c.1917 by the savage new objectivity of George Grosz. Beckmann developed a richer, more personal, more dramatic, and more symbolic art in the 1920s. The power of his allegorical expressionism increased through the war years, which he spent in Amsterdam after fleeing Nazi Germany in 1937. Beckmann came to the United States in 1947 and taught at Washington Univ., St. Louis, and at the Brooklyn Museum School, New York City. His well-known triptych, Departure (1932–35; Mus. of Modern Art, N.Y.C.) is one of 18 powerful monumental triptychs that culminated in The Argonauts (1950).

See B. C. Buenger, Max Beckmann: Self-Portrait in Words: Collected Writings and Statements (1997); S. Bieber and B. Buenger, ed., Max Beckmann (2003); R. Spieler, Beckmann (2011); H. Belting and B. M. Burgi, Max Beckmann: The Landscapes (2011); D. Anfam et al., Beckmann and America (2012); K. Schick and H. Gassner, ed. Max Beckmann: The Still Lifes (2015).

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