Monday, December 30, 2019

Max Beckmann Portrays His Wives

Max Beckmann ( 1884-1950) is usually associated with the post- Great War Neue Sachlichkeit movement in Germany. His Wikipedia entry is here. I wrote about his many self-portraits here.

Besides portraying himself, Beckmann painted his wives -- especially his second wife -- and a number of these paintings are shown below.

His first wife was Minna Beckmann-Tube (1881-1964), Wikipedia entry here, who was about three years older than him, and a fellow art student. He insisted that she abandon art after their marriage, so she took up opera singing. She was mother of his son, and they remained friends after he dumped her.

Minna's replacement was Mathilde (Quappi) Beckmann (1904-1986), German Wikipedia entry here, 20 years younger than Beckmann. Quappi was a daughter of the important Munich painter Friedrich von Kaulbach.

There might have been more complications, but let's turn to the paintings.


Max Beckmann and Minna Beckmann-Tube - 1909

Minna Beckmann-Tube as Venus in Richard Wagner's Tannhäuser, Dessau 1916
Publicity image of Minna.

Minna Beckmann-Tube - 1924
He painted this around the time their marriage ended.

Beckmann and Quappi
Probably taken during the late 1920s.

Quappi - 1925
Beckmann emphasized her nose in his early portraits, then dialed that down by the 1940s.

Quappi - 1926

Quappi - 1931
For some reason the date for this seems wrong. Her hairdo is more appropriate for towards the end of the decade.

Quappi - 1932-34
I think this is Beckmann's best portrait of her.

Quappi - 1936

Quappi - 1937
In the upper-right corner Beckmann notes this was painted in Amsterdam where they lived from 1937 to 1948.

Quappi - 1943
Image slightly cropped at the bottom.

Quappi - 1944

Quappi - 1948
Painted in St. Louis. Like Beckmann, Quappi was a smoker.

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