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Of ‘Truths Impossible to Put in Words’

Max Beckmann Contextualized

Rose-Carol Washton Long and Maria Makela

Dismissing attempts to characterize his paintings and graphic work as connected to stylistic movements or to historical events, Max Beckmann positioned himself above the earthly realm and claimed that he painted ‘truths impossible to put in words’. In contrast, this volume consists of essays that relate his work to the tangible circumstances of its production and reception. Unlike much earlier scholarship that has focused on stylistic analysis or on interpretations of the work’s ‘eternal truth’, these essays contextualize aspects of Beckmann’s early, middle, and late career by way of detailed reference to contemporary music, film, philosophy, theatre, history, sports, and exile. The anthology thus expands Beckmann scholarship, which only recently has begun to consider context in relation to his position as both a central and an outside figure in the history of modern art in the twentieth century.
Contents: Rose-Carol Washton Long/Maria Makela: Introduction – Jay A. Clarke: Space as Metaphor: Beckmann and the Conflicts of Secessionist Style in Berlin – Karen Lang: Max Beckmann’s Inconceivable Modernism – Rose-Carol Washton Long: Ambivalence: Personal and Political: Max Beckmann’s Print Portfolios, 1919-1924 – Marsha Morton: ‘Painted Sounds’: Music in the Art of Max Beckmann – Barbara C. Buenger: Some Portraits from Weimar-Era Frankfurt – James Van Dyke: Max Beckmann, Sport and the Field of Cultural Criticism – Peter Chametzky: Titanic Sinks, Departure Arrives: On Beckmann, Film and the Fall of History Painting and Rise of the Historical Object – Sabine Eckmann: Max Beckmann: From Space to Place – F. Forster-Hahn: Imagining the American West: Max Beckmann in St. Louis and California – David Ehrenpreis: Between Heaven and Earth: Max Beckmann’s Last Representations of the Artist.