Max Beckmann: The Still Lifes Edited by Karin Schick & Hubertus Gassner
4to. pp. 197. profusely illustrated. biography. hardcover boards. New York: Prestel, .
Published in conjunction with an exhibition at the Hamburger Kunsthalle.
Presenting work from every stage of the versatile artist’s career, this book is the first to focus solely on Max Beckmann’s still lifes. In his still lifes, Max Beckmann juxtaposed vitality with death, permanence with ephemerality. Featuring nearly eighty paintings and watercolors, this volume covers a half-century of the artist's forays into the genre. The still life runs like a golden thread through every stage of his creative life. Images of skulls, dying flowers and extinguished candles populate these masterful works, which draw on the tradition of the Old Masters. At the same time, Beckmann's still lifes are a celebration of color and form, materiality and textures. Skillfully Beckmann plays with various levels of reality and with the inclusion of figures, landscapes or self-portraits into his still lifes he creates fascinating overlaps with other genres. The beautifully reproduced works are luminous on the page, allowing readers to appreciate Beckmann's use of iridescent color and bold lines. Together they provide a unique perspective on Beckmann's development as an artist, as well as a rich exploration into a lesser known aspect of the modern master's oeuvre.