The many-faceted work of Max Beckmann (1884–1950) has been much researched and exhibited. The interest lay mainly in his figure paintings, self-portraits, mythological works or landscapes. The Hamburger Kunsthalle now devotes a comprehensive exhibition to Beckmann's fascinating still lifes – there has never been such a show until now, either in Germany or abroad.
The still life is present in all of Beckmann's artistic phases: from his earliest paintings through the war years to his time in Frankfurt, exile in Amsterdam and final years in the United States. In his compositions with withering flowers and extinguished candles Beckmann contrastes the immediate presence of life with its transience. But with the portrayal of fruits, shells or sea creatures he also celebrates the world in its abundance of colour, form and material.
The exhibition, which proceeds from two important works in the collection of the Hamburger Kunsthalle, will bring together around eighty paintings and several watercolours form the years 1906 to 1949. Important and also rarely shown works from public and private collections in Europe and the United States convey the impressive variety of this theme.