A Dream of Life
This book accompanies a retrospective of Max Beckmann’s painting organized by the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate Modern, London; and the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. That exhibition turns out to be the first Beckmann retrospective in those art capitals in over thirty years–a surprisingly long wait for an artist of this stature. Perhaps the lapse of attention had to do with the importance of abstraction in twentieth-century art, as if Beckmann’s work, always figurative, were somehow old-fashioned; but neither Matisse nor Picasso ever fully gave up the figure either, and Beckmann’s work, simultaneously muscular and enigmatic, has enormous strength. In any case, in the present diverse moment a new examination of Beckmann’s role and reputation during the first half of the twentieth century has been eagerly awaited. Making use of new scholarship and previously unavailable research materials, this book sheds new light on Beckmann’s work, and on his influence on and interactions with the artists of his day. It is bound to become the new authority on the subject.
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