Max Beckmann. Christ and Pilate (Christus und Pilatus) from Day and Dream. (1946)

Max Beckmann Christ and Pilate (Christus und Pilatus) from Day and Dream (1946)

  • Not on view

Max Beckmann blended the real and the imaginary in his final print cycle, Day and Dream, filtering autobiographical elements from his exile in Holland, biblical and mythological tales, and scenes of sexual conflict through his vision of the world as a circus or theater. Oblivious lovers dance while the figure War slumbers, threatening to awake at any moment. Demagogues rise. Children refuse to eat their soup. Beckmann here revisited subjects he had explored throughout his career, suggesting that nothing changes and everything comes back.

Beckmann depicted himself throughout the portfolio, appearing as a figure who has seen and experienced it all. In the final print, he stands as Pontius Pilate across from the crucified Jesus. After another world war, Beckmann held little hope for salvation—for himself or for humanity.


In 1946, the New York gallerist Curt Valentin commissioned Beckmann to make a portfolio of prints for the American market. Valentin, a German expatriate and instrumental supporter of artists persecuted by the Nazis, left the choices of subject matter and medium to the artist. Beckmann, who had not made prints since 1942, responded enthusiastically to the offer, writing to Valentin that he was "teeming with ideas." This resulting portfolio of fifteen lithographs, initially titled Time-Motion, sums up a lifetime of his artistic themes.

Publication excerpt from Heather Hess, German Expressionist Digital Archive Project, German Expressionism: Works from the Collection. 2011.
One from a portfolio of fifteen lithographs
composition (irreg.): 13 9/16 x 10 13/16" (34.4 x 27.5 cm); sheet: 15 3/4 x 11 13/16" (40 x 30 cm)
Curt Valentin, New York
unknown, probably Amsterdam, Netherlands
approx. 110 (including 90 in the portfolio [this ex.], 10 as single prints, and 10 artist's proofs); plus a few trial proofs
Object number
© 2020 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Day and Dream
Drawings and Prints

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA’s Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].