Max Beckmann. Self-Portrait with a Cigarette. Frankfurt 1923

Max Beckmann

Self-Portrait with a Cigarette

Frankfurt 1923

Oil on canvas
23 3/4 x 15 7/8" (60.2 x 40.3 cm)
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. F. H. Hirschland
Object number
© 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Painting and Sculpture
This work is not on view.
Max Beckmann has 219 works  online.
There are 2,378 paintings online.

This is one of many paintings and prints in which Beckmann used self-portraiture as a form of role playing. Here, he presented himself as a stern and successful businessman, holding a cigarette in a gesture of nonchalance or defiance. But at the lower left, almost imperceptible, is a red polkadot sash. A sly reference to the dress of a clown, it mocks and rebukes his mask of authority. Beckmann frequently portrayed himself in circus costume.

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

This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.
Acquired from the artist by J.B. Neumann (1887-1961), New York, by 1927 [1]; Franz H. Hirschland (1880-1973), New York, before 1930 [2]; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1956 (Gift of Dr. and Mrs. F.H. Hirschland).

[1] Erhard Göpel and Barbara Göpel, Max Beckmann: Katalog der Gemälde, Bern: Kornfeld & Cie., 1976, vol. 1, no. 221. Included in the exhibition Max Beckmann, New Art Circle (J.B. Neumann), New York, April 12-May 11, 1927. Reproduced on the front cover of Art Lover: I.B. Neumanns Bilderhefte: Max Beckmann, April 1915.
[2] Included in the exhibition Modern German Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, March 12-April 26, 1931, no. 7. Lender: F.H. Hirschland.

If you have any questions or information to provide about the listed works, please email 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).

If you would like to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA, please contact Scala Archives (all geographic locations) at

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

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