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 2,314 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.

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