Max Beckmann


Max Beckmann (1884-1950) was involved in a group of painters called “New Objectivity”, together with Otto Dix and Geroge Grosz. Although this group was intended as a reaction to expressionism, the style of Beckmann was highly expressionist. Before World War I Beckmann mostly created realistic paintings, monumental allegorical compositions in praise of humanity.

But his service in the war caused Beckmann to use his work to express the terror of war and the decadence of mankind. While Beckmann certainly engaged in social criticism in his work during this period, he did so in a broader context than other artists associated with Neue Sachlichkeit, such as Dix and Grosz, continuing to confront metaphysical issues in his paintings.
“The greatest mystery of all is reality.”

Above: "Still Life with Three Skulls" (1945)
A grim still life, created during his exile in Amsterdam.

Below: "Paris Society" (1931)
A portrait of émigrés, aristocrats, businessmen, and intellectuals engaged in disjointed festivity on the eve of the Third Reich.

Paris Society