Max Beckmann “Self Portrait”

Beckmann often represented himself in disguise or costumed to express his own view that life is a series of roles to be played. In this late self-portrait, the artist seems to have shed disguise: unsmiling, he stands plainly dressed, close behind an easel. The figure is rendered in the strong black outlines characteristic of Beckmann’s rather flat painting style. Tight space presses in around the figure, conveying a claustrophobic sense that underscores Beckmann’s physical presence and close proximity. His gaze is challenging, but it also creates a sense of immediacy in its directness.

Photo 📸 Kim Bell

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