Self Portrait (Selbst in Hotel), Max Beckmann

Max Beckmann: The Bourgeois “Degenerate”

Max Beckmann was a German painter, draftsman, printmaker, sculptor, and writer active during the early 20th century. Although he is classified as an Expressionist artist due to the deliberate degree of unfinish, figurative and perspectival distortion, he rejected both the term and the movement. The critical social commentary evident in his art has long disturbed contemporary viewers.

Join the University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor of Art History Emerita Barbara Copeland Buenger as she traces the trajectory of the thoroughly bourgeois and seemingly apolitical Max Beckmann. From his post-World War I “new beginning” in Frankfurt through his 1933 Nazi dismissal from his teaching post and move to Berlin, to his notorious 1937 branding as “degenerate,” move to Amsterdam, and subsequent production in wartime Amsterdam and postwar America, Beckmann created art that continues to challenge the viewer to this day.

DATE: Tuesday, July 25, 2023
TIME: 7:00 – 8:15 p.m.
LOCATION: Jewish Museum Milwaukee
COST: Museum Members $5 | Nonmembers $10

Addon $5 to a Nonmember ticket to visit Jewish Museum Milwaukee and experience DEGENERATE! Hitler’s War on Modern Art between 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. the night of the program. Members are welcome to visit for free!

Barbara Copeland Buenger earned her advanced degrees in art history at Columbia and spent forty years in the Department of Art History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A specialist in classical European modernism who taught courses in many different areas, her publications are devoted mostly to studies of the German artist Max Beckmann, including an English anthology of his writings, Self-Portrait in Words (Chicago 1997), and essays on all phases of his production, including a short essay for the recent Munich exhibition, Max Beckmann Departure (2022-23).

She’s currently producing a monograph on his works of the 1930s, provisionally titled “Timely and Untimely Art. Max Beckmann’s 1930s Novocento in the Nazi Era.” She’s also written on the art of Vienna, Biedermeier, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Edward Munch, and Eva-Maria Schön, and taught in and directed the University’s program in Florence.

Self-Portrait in the Hotel (Selbst im Hotel), 1922 by Max Beckmann
Collection of Beloit College, Wright Museum of Art

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