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THE COLLECTION

Max Beckmann (German, 1884–1950)

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From the portfolio

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  • Max Beckmann. Self-Portrait (Selbstbildnis) from Faces (Gesichter). (1918, published 1919)
    Self-Portrait (Selbstbildnis) from...
    (1918, published 1919)
    Max Beckmann. Self-Portrait (Selbstbildnis) from Faces (Gesichter). (1918, published 1919)
  • Max Beckmann. Family Scene (Beckmann Family) [Familienszene (Familie Beckmann)] from Faces (Gesichter). (1918, published 1919)
    Family Scene (Beckmann Family)...
    (1918, published 1919)
    Max Beckmann. Family Scene (Beckmann Family) [Familienszene (Familie Beckmann)] from Faces (Gesichter). (1918, published 1919)
  • Max Beckmann. Madhouse (Irrenhaus)  from Faces (Gesichter). (1918, published 1919)
    Madhouse (Irrenhaus) from Faces...
    (1918, published 1919)
    Max Beckmann. Madhouse (Irrenhaus)  from Faces (Gesichter). (1918, published 1919)
  • Max Beckmann. Lovers I (Liebespaar I) from Faces (Gesichter). (1916, published 1919)
    Lovers I (Liebespaar I) from Faces...
    (1916, published 1919)
    Max Beckmann. Lovers I (Liebespaar I) from Faces (Gesichter). (1916, published 1919)
  • Max Beckmann. Lovers II (Liebespaar II)  from Faces (Gesichter). (1918, published 1919)
    Lovers II (Liebespaar II) from...
    (1918, published 1919)
    Max Beckmann. Lovers II (Liebespaar II)  from Faces (Gesichter). (1918, published 1919)
  • Max Beckmann. Main River Landscape (Mainlandschaft) from Faces (Gesichter). (1918, published 1919)
    Main River Landscape (Mainlandschaft)...
    (1918, published 1919)
    Max Beckmann. Main River Landscape (Mainlandschaft) from Faces (Gesichter). (1918, published 1919)
  • Max Beckmann. The Yawners (Die Gähnenden) from Faces (Gesichter). (1918, published 1919)
    The Yawners (Die Gähnenden)...
    (1918, published 1919)
    Max Beckmann. The Yawners (Die Gähnenden) from Faces (Gesichter). (1918, published 1919)
  • Max Beckmann. Theater from the portfolio Faces (Gesichter). (1916, published 1919)
    Theater from the portfolio Faces...
    (1916, published 1919)
    Max Beckmann. Theater from the portfolio Faces (Gesichter). (1916, published 1919)
  • Max Beckmann. Theater for the portfolio Faces (Gesichter). 1916 (published 1919)
    Theater for the portfolio Faces...
    1916 (published 1919)
    Max Beckmann. Theater for the portfolio Faces (Gesichter). 1916 (published 1919)
  • Max Beckmann. Café Music (Cafémusik)  from Faces (Gesichter). (1918, published 1919)
    Café Music (Cafémusik) ...
    (1918, published 1919)
    Max Beckmann. Café Music (Cafémusik)  from Faces (Gesichter). (1918, published 1919)
  • Max Beckmann. Evening (Self-Portrait with the Battenbergs) [Der Abend (Selbstbildnis mit den Battenbergs)] from Faces (Gesichter). (1916, published 1919)
    Evening (Self-Portrait with the...
    (1916, published 1919)
    Max Beckmann. Evening (Self-Portrait with the Battenbergs) [Der Abend (Selbstbildnis mit den Battenbergs)] from Faces (Gesichter). (1916, published 1919)
  • Max Beckmann. Descent from the Cross (Kreuzabnahme) from Faces (Gesichter). (1918, published 1919)
    Descent from the Cross (Kreuzabnahme)...
    (1918, published 1919)
    Max Beckmann. Descent from the Cross (Kreuzabnahme) from Faces (Gesichter). (1918, published 1919)
  • Max Beckmann. Resurrection (Auferstehung) from Faces (Gesichter). (1918, published 1919)
    Resurrection (Auferstehung) from...
    (1918, published 1919)
    Max Beckmann. Resurrection (Auferstehung) from Faces (Gesichter). (1918, published 1919)
  • Max Beckmann. Spring (Frühling) from  Faces (Gesichter). (1918, published 1919)
    Spring (Frühling) from Faces...
    (1918, published 1919)
    Max Beckmann. Spring (Frühling) from  Faces (Gesichter). (1918, published 1919)
  • Max Beckmann. Landscape with Balloon (Landschaft mit Ballon) from Faces (Gesichter). (1918, published 1919)
    Landscape with Balloon (Landschaft mit...
    (1918, published 1919)
    Max Beckmann. Landscape with Balloon (Landschaft mit Ballon) from Faces (Gesichter). (1918, published 1919)
  • Max Beckmann. Two Auto Officers (Zwei Autooffiziere) from Faces (Gesichter). (1915, published 1919)
    Two Auto Officers (Zwei Autooffiziere)...
    (1915, published 1919)
    Max Beckmann. Two Auto Officers (Zwei Autooffiziere) from Faces (Gesichter). (1915, published 1919)
  • Max Beckmann. Playing Children, Broad Format (Spielende Kinder, Breitformat) from Faces (Gesichter). (1918, published 1919)
    Playing Children, Broad Format (Spielende...
    (1918, published 1919)
    Max Beckmann. Playing Children, Broad Format (Spielende Kinder, Breitformat) from Faces (Gesichter). (1918, published 1919)
  • Max Beckmann. Happy New Year 1917 (Prosit Neujahr 1917) for the portfolio Faces (Gesichter). 1917 (published 1919)
    Happy New Year 1917 (Prosit Neujahr 1917)...
    1917 (published 1919)
    Max Beckmann. Happy New Year 1917 (Prosit Neujahr 1917) for the portfolio Faces (Gesichter). 1917 (published 1919)
  • Max Beckmann. The Large Operation (Grosse Operation) from Faces (Gesichter). (c. 1914, published 1919)
    The Large Operation (Grosse Operation)...
    (c. 1914, published 1919)
    Max Beckmann. The Large Operation (Grosse Operation) from Faces (Gesichter). (c. 1914, published 1919)
  • Max Beckmann. Self-Portrait with Stylus (Selbstbildnis mit Griffel) from Faces (Gesichter). (1916-17, published 1919)
    Self-Portrait with Stylus (Selbstbildnis...
    (1916-17, published 1919)
    Max Beckmann. Self-Portrait with Stylus (Selbstbildnis mit Griffel) from Faces (Gesichter). (1916-17, published 1919)

About the portfolio

Heather Hess, German Expressionist Digital Archive Project, German Expressionism: Works from the Collection. 2011.

The nineteen prints in Max Beckmann's portfolio Gesichter (Faces) do not present a narrative sequence but rather show flashes of life at different moments. Rendered in various sizes and formats and featuring a range of subjects, the images reflect the motley character of human existence: children play war games while bloody soldiers lie on operating-room tables; unattainable desire coexists with the empty pleasures of purchased love; people are bored and lonely, whether at home or in the city, alone or in the crowd. Beckmann, an active participant, appears in multiple self-portraits, including one at each the beginning and the end. Throughout the collection, the artist exaggerated facial features, distorted space, and took full advantage of the scratchy texture of drypoint lines for expressive effect.

PUBLISHING HISTORY

Beckmann originally planned to publish two separate portfolios—one of wartime imagery and another, to be titled Welt-Theater (World theater), illustrating metropolitan life. Instead, Julius Meier-Graefe, an important critic and advocate for modern art, culled previously unpublished drypoints that Beckmann made between 1915 and 1918 and published this single portfolio. He also suggested the title. Gesicht has a range of meanings—face, sight, appearance, and vision—and is rich with literary associations, evoking in particular Friedrich Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra, in which the term conveys the many facets of human existence.

Max Beckmann (German, 1884–1950)

The Portfolio

Faces (Gesichter)

Date:
1919 (prints executed: 1915-1918)
Medium:
Portfolio of nineteen drypoints
Dimensions:
plate (see child records): dimensions vary; sheet (dimensions vary): from 7 3/16 x 9 5/8" (18.3 x 24.4 cm) to 17 11/16 x 14 1/2" (45 x 36.9 cm)
Paper:
Cream, slightly textured, laid.
Publisher:
Marées-Gesellschaft, R. Piper & Co., Munich
Printer:
Franz Hanfstaengl, Munich
MoMA Number:
Portfolio_Beckmann_Faces
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