Two Auto Officers 15_5.jpg

Two Auto Officers

Item Code: MB-84-s
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Gesichter (Faces)
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Seeing a return to the literal Gesichter - ‘faces’ - of the portfolio is the double portrait ‘Two Auto Officers’. James Hofmaier, the authority on Beckmann’s graphic works, identifies the figure on the right as Paul Cassirer, a Berlin art dealer and publisher who eagerly volunteered to fight at the declaration of war and received an Iron Cross for his efforts. Increasingly disillusioned with the war, Cassirer went on to become a pacifist. His relationship with Beckmann was established even before the war, however, when in 1909 he commissioned Beckman to illustrate Guthmann’s ‘Eurydikes Wiederkehr’, Beckmann’s first ever published illustrations, and the two remained close friends.
Max Beckmann portraitBorn in 1884, Max Beckmann was a German artist and writer who, though he rejected the term and movement, was most closely associated with German Expressionism. Though as a young man he practiced drawing like the old masters, his experiences in the First World War as a medical orderly dramatically changed his style, which became increasingly distorted in both colour and form.

Best known for his extraordinary number of self-portraits, Beckmann received great critical acclaim throughout the years of the Weimar Republic, but his art was denounced by the Nazis and, upon Hitler’s ascension to power, rejected as degenerate art. Originally failing to gain a visa to the U.S. and painting in a studio in Amsterdam, Beckmann eventually emigrated after the war to New York. He died there in 1950.
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