Archive for January 11th, 2023

Beckmann/ Questing

Max Beckmann Still Life with Three Skulls 1945

Max Beckmann- Still Life with Three Skulls, 1945

All important things in art since Ur of the Chaldea’s, since Tel Halaf and Crete, have always originated from the deepest feeling about the mystery of Being. Self-realization is the urge of all objective spirits. It is this Ego for which I am searching in my life and in my art. Art is creative for the sake of realization, not for amusement, for transfiguration, not for the sake of play. It is the quest of our Ego that drives us along the eternal and never-ending journey we must all make.

–Max Beckmann, On My Painting, 1938


beckmann- beginning

Max Beckmann- Beginning

Everything intellectual and transcendent is joined together in painting by the uninterrupted labour of the eyes. Each shade of a flower, a face, a tree, a fruit, a sea, a mountain, is noted eagerly by the intensity of the senses to which is added, in a way of which we are not conscious, the work of the mind, and in the end the strength or weakness of the soul… It is the strength of soul which forces the mind to constant exercise to widen its conception of space. Something of this is perhaps contained in my pictures.

–Max Beckmann, On My Painting, 1938


Max Beckmann- Synagogue

Learn by heart the forms to be found in nature, so that you can use them like the notes in a musical composition. That is what these forms are for. Nature is a marvelous chaos, and it is our job and our duty to bring order into that chaos and – to perfect it.

–Max Beckmann, Three Letters to a Woman-Painter, 1948

Beckmann Departure 1935

Max Beckmann- Departure, 1935

A human face, a hand, a woman’s breast or a manly body, an expression of conflicting joy and pain, the infinite ocean, savage crags, the melancholy speech of black trees against the snow, the fierce power of spring blossoms and the heavy lethargy of a hot summer noon when our old friend Pan is asleep and the ghost of noon are murmuring – all this is enough to make us forget the sorrows of the world, or to give them form. In any case the determination to give form to things brings with it part of the solution for which you are seeking. The path is hard and the goal can never be reached – but it is a path.

–Max Beckmann, Three Letters to a Woman-Painter, 1948

Beckmann Blnd Mans Bluff

Max Beckmann- Blind Man’s Bluff, 1945

What I want to show in my work is the idea which hides itself behind so-called reality. I am seeking for the bridge which leans from the visible to the invisible through reality. It may sound paradoxical, but it is in fact reality which forms the mystery of our existence.

–Max Beckmann, The Actors, 1942

Max Beckmann, The Actors, 1941-42. Oil on canvas

Max Beckmann, The Actors, 1942

Wasn’t going to write anything, just let Beckmann’s words and images stand by themselves. But I came across a video with the proper Germanic feel for Beckmann’s images and thought it was worth inclusion. It’s a version of Mack the Knife (Mackie Messer) from Swedish jazz musician/multi-instrumentalist/dancer Gunhild Carling. Exuberant.

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