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Max Beckmann: The World as a Stage

24. February – June 10, 2018

The first exhibition to focus on this central theme in the work of the painter, thus enabling a new look at an exceptional artist of the twentieth century.

Many works by Max Beckmann (1884–1950) depict the world of theater, circus, and vaudeville. The topic of putting on a show inspired him during his entire career. His paintings bring the “world theater,” the Baroque way of seeing the world as a stage, into the modern age. In light of the artist’s experiences in World War I and the dramatic political developments during his years in exile after 1937, Beckmann employed “the world as a stage” as a symbol for the catastrophic situation that prevailed at the time in global affairs. To deal with this, the painter transformed his images into a stage for his art.

 Max Beckmann:  Dancer (Split),  1935, Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig

Max Beckmann: Dancer (Split), 1935, Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig

“Beckmann’s powerful painting, with which he divides the picture surface into individual facets and shows the actors in disjointed interaction, with roles and plots we do not know, is just as topical today as it was at the time it was created. Beckmann’s painting conveys this basic experience of the modern era and challenges individuals to question the figures and to choose their own role in the world theater.”

Ortrud Westheider, Director, Museum Barberini
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