Max Beckmann in New York at The Met Fifth Avenue, October 19, 2016 – February 20, 2017
“In late December 1950, Max Beckmann set out from his apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan to see his latest self-portrait on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. On the corner of Sixty-Ninth Street and Central Park West, he suffered a fatal heart attack. The poignant circumstances of the German artist’s death inspired this focused exhibition, which presents works Beckmann painted or completed in New York during the last sixteen months of his life along with earlier paintings (1920 – 48) now in New York collections. During Beckmann’s ten-year exile in Amsterdam from 1937 to 1947, a consequence of the rise of National Socialism in his native country and the outbreak of World War II, Americans saw him as a heroic figure and admired his stoic endurance. After the war, he rejected offers to teach in Germany, instead accepting a temporary position in Saint Louis in 1947. Settling in the United States for good in 1948, he regarded his immigration to America as “marking the end” of his exile. In early September 1949 he moved to Manhattan, describing it as “a prewar Berlin multiplied a hundredfold,” and began teaching at the Brooklyn Museum Art School.
Although Beckmann was new to the city, his work had preceded him by more than twenty years — largely due to the efforts of two German art dealers from Berlin: J. B. Neumann and Curt Valentin. Through their exhibitions of his work, many important paintings entered New York collections, as shown in these galleries.” — Introductory Wall Text