Max Beckmann. Trip to Berlin 1922 (Berliner Reise 1922). 1922

Max Beckmann Trip to Berlin 1922 (Berliner Reise 1922) 1922

  • Not on view

In this portfolio, made three years after the revolutionary upheavals of 1919, Berlin is a city of disillusioned people quietly resigned to their fates. The rich play cards, attend the theater, and while away the hours in boredom. The poor beg on the street and enjoy the momentary distractions of a dive. Beckmann compressed his scenes into tight, windowlike frames that barely contain their inhabitants, creating a sense of claustrophobia and discord. He lived in Frankfurt but visited the capital in 1922 to create these prints, which he conceived as a sequel to his portfolio Hell (1919).

Gallery label from German Expressionism: The Graphic Impulse, March 27–July 11, 2011.

As depicted in Max Beckmann's portfolio Berliner Reise 1922 (Trip to Berlin 1922), in the years just after revolutionary upheavals following Germany's defeat in World War I, Berlin is a city of disillusioned people quietly resigned to their fates. Neither politics nor sex can rouse any interest. The rich play cards, attend the theater, and while away the hours in boredom. The poor beg on the street, sleep in cramped quarters, and enjoy the momentary distractions of a dive bar. In these prints, Beckmann chronicles the many sides of life in the capital of the new Republic. Emphasizing the claustrophobic and discordant, he compresses scenes in tight, windowlike frames that barely contain the figures that fill them. By contrast, he depicts himself alone in three self-portraits, as an outsider who observes but does not participate, arriving in the city with suitcase in hand, sitting in his hotel room, and, as a chimneysweep in the final print, surveying the city in the new dawn. PUBLISHING HISTORY Beckmann conceived of this series as a sequel and moral complement to Hölle (Hell), his 1919 portfolio of postwar Berlin. He visited Berlin in early 1922, and by April the lithographs were ready for printing. Pleased, he wrote to publisher J. B. Neumann: "I think it ended up being a good and actually quite amusing thing."

Publication excerpt from Heather Hess, German Expressionist Digital Archive Project, German Expressionism: Works from the Collection. 2011.
Medium
Portfolio of eleven lithographs (including cover)
Dimensions
composition (each approx.): 18 3/4 x 14 1/8" (47.7 x 35.8 cm); sheet (each approx.): 21 15/16 x 21 1/8" (55.8 x 53.7 cm)
Publisher
J. B. Neumann, Berlin
Printer
C. Naumann's Druckerei, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Edition
100
Credit
Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Fund
Object number
310.1951.1-11
Copyright
© 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Type
Portfolio
Department
Drawings and Prints

Installation views

MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos.

If you notice an error, please contact us at digital@moma.org.

This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.

Buchholz Gallery, New York; to The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1951

Provenance research is a work in progress, and is frequently updated with new information. If you have any questions or information to provide about the listed works, please email provenance@moma.org or write to:

Provenance Research Project
The Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street
New York, NY 10019

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 firenze@scalarchives.com. 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 moma.org, please email text_permissions@moma.org. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to archives@moma.org.

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to digital@moma.org.