Travel is a fundamental experience of human existence. For Max Beckmann it was of existential importance both in a symbolic, but also in a deeply personal sense. In the 1920s, he regularly traveled to the noble health resorts and palace hotels on the Dutch, Italian, and French coasts. His defamation as a "degenerate" artist by the Nazi regime, however, forced him to retreat, first from Frankfurt to Berlin and subsequently into exile in Amsterdam. His emigration to the United States marked the culmination of a life entwined with the longing to travel as well as uprooting, transit, and exile. Max Beckmann. DEPARTURE assembles an outstanding selection of artworks and initiates a dialogue with hitherto unseen objects and materials from the Max Beckmann Archive. It shows Beckmann’s relationship to film and literature as a producer of images of aspirations and longing resonating with notions of identity and home.
MAX BECKMANN (1884-1950) is one of the most important artists of the 20th century. A star of the Berlin Secession, Beckmann’s career was slowed by World War I and a personal crisis, but continued in the 1920s. After the Nazis forced him to resign his professorship in Frankfurt in 1933, he went into exile in Amsterdam in 1937 and subsequently emigrated to the US in 1947. Teaching in St. Louis and New York, he became the most successful German artist in the United States of his time.