Bavaria: Beckmann exhibition about the joy and sorrow of departure

Max Beckmann's life was difficult.

Bavaria: Beckmann exhibition about the joy and sorrow of departure

Max Beckmann's life was difficult. The artist experienced two world wars, in between the persecution by the National Socialists. Much is reflected in his works. An exhibition in Munich now gives very personal insights.

Munich (dpa / lby) - Paintings, sketches, diary entries and documents by the painter and sculptor Max Beckmann can be seen in an exhibition at the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich from Friday. The focus is on the pleasurable and painful experience of travel, the museum announced on Thursday in Munich. "Departure" is the name of the show, which, until March 12, 2023, will present works from the company's extensive collection as well as the triptych of the same name from the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The National Gallery of Art in Washington is also contributing the three-part work "Argonauts".

The exhibition with around 70 items on loan shows Beckmann (1884-1950) as a person on the move: happy on vacation or thoughtful and depressed in exile after he left National Socialist Germany in 1937 and emigrated to Amsterdam. The Max Beckmann Archive in Munich contributed many personal items such as postcards, diaries, letters, passports, photo albums and films, and even a suitcase with colorful hotel stickers.

The aim is to place the archive materials in direct relation to the works of art, which creates a completely different image of Beckmann as a person, says Oliver Kase, curator and head of the Modern Art Collection. He also sees many current references. Departure and transit is something that is affecting us a lot at the moment, he says, referring to issues such as migration and the situation of people fleeing the war in Ukraine. "These are all things that Beckmann experienced with two world wars and exile." It was impressive how the artist, who was suffering from heart disease and was depressed, dealt with the challenges and maintained his composure, says Kase, and praises the wordplay and laconic humor that Beckmann reveals in diaries and notes, for example.

Beckmann was born in Leipzig in 1884 and studied art in Weimar. For many years he lived in Berlin, Frankfurt am Main and Paris. Because the National Socialists put the artist under increasing pressure and defamed Beckmann as "degenerate", he decided in 1937 with a heavy heart to go into exile. His wish to emigrate to the USA was fulfilled in 1947, where he finally died on December 27, 1950 in New York. Thanks to a donation, most of his documents from the estate are in the archive in Munich.

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