|Birth Day:||February 12, 1884|
|Death Date:||Dec 28, 1950 (age 66)|
|Birth Place:||Leipzig, Germany|
As per our current Database, Max Beckmann died on Dec 28, 1950 (age 66).
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He was a medical volunteer during World War I. This traumatic experience greatly influenced his artwork. He was one of the most heralded artists of the Weimar Republic.
Although Beckmann is considered one of the towering figures of 20th-century art, he has never been a household name, and his works have mostly appealed to a niche market of German and Austrian collectors. In 1921 Beckmann signed an exclusive contract with the print-dealer J. B. Neumann in Berlin. In 1938 he had the first of numerous exhibitions at Curt Valentin’s Buchholz Gallery, New York. Today, his large paintings routinely sell for more than $1 million, and his self-portraits generally command the highest prices. In 2001, Ronald Lauder paid $22.5 million at Sotheby's New York for Beckmann's Self-Portrait with Horn (1938), and displayed it at the Neue Galerie in New York. In 2017, an anonymous bidder paid the record sum of $45.8 million for Beckmann's Hölle der Vögel (Birds' Hell) at Christie's London. This is also a new world record for a German Expressionism artwork.
Beckmann enjoyed great success and official honors during the Weimar Republic. In 1925 he was selected to teach a master class at the Städelschule Academy of Fine Art in Frankfurt. Some of his most famous students included Theo Garve, Leo Maillet and Marie-Louise von Motesiczky. In 1927 he received the Honorary Empire Prize for German Art and the Gold Medal of the City of Düsseldorf; the National Gallery in Berlin acquired his painting The Bark and, in 1928, purchased his Self-Portrait in Tuxedo. By the early 1930s, a series of major exhibitions, including large retrospectives at the Städtische Kunsthalle Mannheim (1928) and in Basel and Zurich (1930), together with numerous publications, showed the high esteem in which Beckmann was held.
His fortunes changed with the rise to power of Adolf Hitler, whose dislike of Modern Art quickly led to its suppression by the state. In 1933, the Nazi government called Beckmann a "cultural Bolshevik" and dismissed him from his teaching position at the Art School in Frankfurt. In 1937 the government confiscated more than 500 of his works from German museums, putting several on display in the notorious Degenerate Art exhibition in Munich. The day after Hitler's radio speech about degenerate art in 1937, Beckmann left Germany with his second wife, Quappi, for the Netherlands.
For ten years, Beckmann lived in self-imposed exile in Amsterdam, failing in his desperate attempts to obtain a visa for the United States. In 1944 the Germans attempted to draft him into the army, although the sixty-year-old artist had suffered a heart attack. The works completed in his Amsterdam studio were even more powerful and intense than the ones of his master years in Frankfurt. They included several large triptychs, which stand as a summation of Beckmann's art.
In 1948, Beckmann moved to the United States. During the last three years of his life, he taught at the art schools of Washington University in St. Louis (with the German-American painter and printmaker Werner Drewes) and the Brooklyn Museum. He came to St. Louis at the invitation of Perry T. Rathbone, who was director of the Saint Louis Art Museum. Rathbone arranged for Washington University in St. Louis to hire Beckmann as an art teacher, filling a vacancy left by Philip Guston, who had taken a leave. The first Beckmann retrospective in the United States took place in 1948 at the City Art Museum, Saint Louis. In St. Louis, Morton D. May became his patron and, already an avid amateur photographer and painter, a student of the artist. May later donated much of his large collection of Beckmann's works to the St. Louis Art Museum. Beckmann also helped him learn to appreciate Oceanian and African art. After stops in Denver and Chicago, he and Quappi took an apartment at 38 West 69th Street in Manhattan. In 1949 he obtained a professorship at the Brooklyn Museum Art School.
In 1996, Piper, Beckmann's German publisher, released the third and last volume of the artist's letters, whose wit and vision rank him among the strongest writers of the German tongue. His essays, plays and, above all, his diaries are also unique historical documents. A selection of Beckmann's writings was issued in the United States by University of Chicago Press in 1996.
Many of Beckmann's late paintings are displayed in American museums. He exerted a profound influence on such American painters as Philip Guston and Nathan Oliveira. His posthumous reputation perhaps suffered from his very individual artistic path; like Oskar Kokoschka, he defies the convenient categorization that provides themes for critics, art historians and curators. Other than a major retrospective at New York's Museum of Modern Art, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Art Institute of Chicago in 1964–65 (with an excellent catalogue by Peter Selz), and MoMA's prominent display of the triptych Departure, his work was little seen in much of the United States for decades. His 1984 centenary was marked in the New York area only by a modest exhibit at Nassau County's suburban art museum. The Saint Louis Art Museum holds the largest public collection of Beckmann paintings in the world and held a major exhibition of his work in 1998.
In 2003, Stephan Reimertz, Parisian novelist and art historian, published a biography of Max Beckmann. It presents many photos and sources for the first time. The biography reveals Beckmann's contemplations of writers and philosophers such as Dostoyevsky, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and Richard Wagner. The book has not yet been translated into English.
Since the late 20th century, Beckmann's work has gained an increasing international reputation. There have been retrospectives and exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art (1995) and the Guggenheim Museum (1996) in New York, and the principal museums of Rome (1996), Valencia (1996), Madrid (1997), Zurich (1998), Munich (2000), Frankfurt (2006) and Amsterdam (2007). In Spain and Italy, Beckmann's work has been accessible to a wider public for the first time. A large-scale Beckmann retrospective was exhibited at the Centre Pompidou in Paris (2002) and Tate Modern in London (2003). In 2011, the Städel in Frankfurt devoted an entire room to the artist in its newly fitted permanent exhibition of modern art.
Several important works by Beckmann were discovered in the Munich flat of Cornelius Gurlitt in 2012, and are the subject of intense scrutiny by the German police and art historians for their provenance and sale during the Nazi period.
In 2015, the Saint Louis Art Museum published Max Beckmann at the Saint Louis Art Museum: The Paintings, by Lynette Roth. It is a comprehensive look at the Beckmann paintings at SLAM, the largest collection of them in the world, and places both artist and works in a broader context.
Currently, Max Beckmann is 137 years, 11 months and 10 days old. Max Beckmann will celebrate 138th birthday on a Saturday 12th of February 2022.
Find out about Max Beckmann birthday activities in timeline view here.