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Sat Oct 5, 2013, 05:33 PM

The Hell of Birds



1938 Max Beckmann (b. Germany, 1884, d. New York 1950)

At the Saint Louis Art Museum.

7 replies, 1776 views

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Arrow 7 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Hell of Birds (Original post)
NNadir Oct 2013 OP
femmocrat Oct 2013 #1
flying_wahini Oct 2013 #2
CaliforniaPeggy Oct 2013 #3
awoke_in_2003 Oct 2013 #4
NNadir Oct 2013 #5
CaliforniaPeggy Oct 2013 #7
Tuesday Afternoon Oct 2013 #6

Response to NNadir (Original post)

Sat Oct 5, 2013, 05:54 PM

1. The Hell of Birds II:

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Response to NNadir (Original post)

Sat Oct 5, 2013, 08:09 PM

2. bird phobic, ya' think?

n/t

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Response to NNadir (Original post)

Sat Oct 5, 2013, 08:29 PM

3. My dear NNadir!

What's the story behind this crazy painting?

It's really out there!

A war story, perhaps......judging from the date.

It's been a while since you've been here, and I'm glad to see you...

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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Reply #3)

Sat Oct 5, 2013, 09:04 PM

4. Reminds me of the Most Interesting Man in the World ad...

 

"he understands modern art- all of it"

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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Reply #3)

Sun Oct 6, 2013, 10:22 AM

5. Thank you Peg...

...Beckmann had been a prominent and very successful artist in Germany during the Weimar years, in the 1920's. He traveled in high cultural circles, had patrons for his art, and was considered the avatar of German Expressionism.

His paintings from that period are quite beautiful, but less disturbing than his very powerful paintings from the 1930's. In the 1930's more than 500 of his works were removed from German museums by the Nazis, because his art was considered "degenerate."

He was fired from his "day job" as an art professor at a Frankfurt University in 1937, and emigrated from Germany to Amsterdam in 1938, the year this painting was produced. There he lived in relative poverty and obscurity. In 1944, the Germans who were then occupying the Netherlands attempted to draft him into the Nazi army even though he was in his sixties, but somehow he managed to avoid it.

After the war, he emigrated to the United States, where he taught at Washington University in Saint Louis - many of his painting are in Saint Louis museums - and also worked in New York.

He had a heart attack on Fifth Avenue in New York, a few blocks away from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and died.

I personally regard him as one of the most important artists of the 20th century, and am always struck by the power of his works. In the foyer of the escalator in the Museum of Modern Art, when one goes up to the 5th floor, his 1932 triptych "Departure" is displayed, painted during the last days of the Weimar Republic as the Nazis were rising. I cannot ascend those stairs and look at this amazing, if disturbing, triptych without being struck with powerful emotions.

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Response to NNadir (Reply #5)

Sun Oct 6, 2013, 11:06 AM

7. Thank you for this illuminating bit of history.

I love hearing the stories behind the art.

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Response to NNadir (Original post)

Sun Oct 6, 2013, 10:28 AM

6. wow. Powerful.

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