Max Beckmann ( German, 1884 - 1950 )
Part of the group of German Expressionists working in the early 20th century, Max Beckmann is especially well known for his psychologically fraught self-portraits. This trend was prominent in his work following World War I, when Beckmann issued a creative credo stating his intention “to be part of all the misery that is coming.” Accordingly, his self-portraits from this period, which marks a high point in his print production, are often bitter and stern. Of his 372 prints, the majority were produced from 1918 to 1922.
In a longstanding tradition of printmaking, many of Beckmann’s most important prints were published in portfolios. This self-portrait was included in a 1919 portfolio entitled Gesichter (Faces). Published in Berlin, the series is notable for its political overtones related to the Weimar period in Germany. Typical of his work, the simplicity of Beckmann’s etching technique gives this print an immediacy that makes it highly personal.
Amy Wojciechowski, DMA label copy, 2017.