5 Items in this Learning Collection
Collection Object
Collection Object

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Self-Portrait with Housegable

Accession Number

Self-Portrait with Housegable

Max Beckmann

Artist Nationality
German (culture or style)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
drypoint on wove paper

21 in x 15 in (53.34 cm x 38.1 cm);12 3/16 in x 10 1/16 in (30.96 cm x 25.56 cm);21 1/16 in x 14 15/16 in (53.5 cm x 37.94 cm);28 in x 22 ⅛ in (71.12 cm x 56.2 cm)

Credit Line
Museum purchase

Label copy
Following his nervous breakdown in 1915, Max Beckmann entered a period of artistic exploration strikingly reflected in the large number of prints that he produced between 1918 and 1923. Among these works are numerous self-portraits in which the artist took on a variety of guises from circus barkers to kings. His choice of personnas and settings, frequently grotesque, mysterious, and anecdotal in detail, helped Beckmann to illustrate what he regarded as the intense theatricality of life.
In Self-Portrait with Housegable we see the artist free from disguise. Incorporating the hard lines of the drypoint, Beckmann captures the sense of weight and depth of the human form. The tightly pursed lips, direct gaze, and frontal pose help to communicate the stoicism and grim demeanor of the artist at war’s end. It was this face that Beckmann chose to reveal to the German public as he joined his colleagues in producing socially critical and personally revealing art after the war.
Text written by Katharine Weiss, Exhibitions Assistant, on the occasion of the UMMA exhibition Graphic Visions: German Expressionist Prints and Drawings, January 25–April 6, 2003, West Gallery

Subject matter
One in a series of self-portraits Beckmann produced between 1918 and 1923 in which he explored a variety of guises and demeanors all intended to be reflective of what he considered the emotion and theatricality of life. Here we see Beckmann's use of the hard lines of the drypoint in the pursed lips, stern gaze, and direct frontal pose reflective of his stoic demeanor at the end of World War I.

Physical Description
Bust-length self-portrait with housegable visible at left.

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

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Expressionist (style)
gables (architectural elements)
modern and contemporary art

3 Related Resources

All Artists in the Degenerate Art Show
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)
German Secessionists
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)
(Part of: Examples of Online Activities)

& Author Notes

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