Exhibition Focuses on German Expressionist Masterpiece, Along with Other Key Portraits and Self-Portraits from the Neue Galerie Collection
NEW YORK (May 12, 2008)—On July 24, 2008, the Neue Galerie opens “Max Beckmann: Self-Portrait with Horn,” an exhibition focusing on one of the most important paintings by the German Expressionist artist. In addition to Self-Portrait with Horn, the exhibition will feature other works by Beckmann, as well as important portraits and self-portraits of that era from the Neue Galerie collection by such artists as Otto Dix, George Grosz, and Christian Schad. It will be on view through
Self-Portrait with Horn was painted in 1938, just after Beckmann fled Nazi Germany to seek refuge in Amsterdam. The exiled artist shows himself isolated and withdrawn, alone on the island of his soul, as he put it. His sidelong glance suggests that he is sunk in his own dark thoughts. Yet Beckmann vividly highlights his head, hands, and musical horn, focusing our attention on his intellect and spirit. The painting reflects the artist’s abiding faith in the dignity of the individual.
While the war raged in Europe, Self-Portrait with Horn played a vital role in helping to establish the artist’s reputation in America. Beckmann finally set sail from Europe in August 1947 to take up a teaching post at the Washington University Art School in Saint Louis. This call to America–and to freedom, in his mind–was the answer he had been waiting for so tensely in his Amsterdam studio. For the remaining three years of his life, Beckmann relished the companionship and vitality he discovered in the United States. His work, so rooted in his belief in individualism, has been a defining force in modern and contemporary art.
A fully illustrated book on Self-Portrait with Horn, written by distinguished art historian Jill Lloyd, will be available in the Neue Galerie Book Store and on the museum website for $30.
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