Thursday, June 21, 2012

Favorite Artists: Max Beckmann

One of the major aspects of achieving a degree in art is learning how to critique and research it. This past semester I took 2 courses specifically teaching these skills and my adviser, Val, preaches knowing how to do both in every class. Once, Val and I were talking about the St. Louis Art Musem and as I talked about loving their Max Beckmann collection she excitedly exclaimed “they have a whole room!!” When discussing the same topic with my professor who teaches the courses on art research though she waited patiently for me to stop talking and then quietly smiled in a tone of disgusted disbelief “you actually like Beckmann?”

Disclaimer to all those who are about to or are currently attending classes: most of your learning should take place outside of the classroom. This instance taught me a valuable lesson that seems so simple, that no two views are the same and no matter how learned a person is you should still seek to hold your own opinions for your own reasons. As Coco Chanel is quoted: “The most courageous act is to think for yourself. Aloud.”

Without further ado, here are my favorite works by Beckmann. This post will serve as the first of many Favorite Artists posts to come!

Beckmann often has a high movement factor in his paintings, mostly due to his lack of emphasis.
Beckmann is well known for his self portraits. One of my favorite things about his works is the outstanding use of  seemingly out-of-place colors that bring a sense of unreality to his works.
A bit on Beckmann: He is a German born artist who lived through WWI and tried to flee his country after experiencing the horrors of war while serving as a medic in the German army. He is associated with the philosophy of Ayn Rand, a favorite author of mine, called New Objectivity.

Beckmann's style had a great range of abstractedness. He played with his style throughout his entire career.
The dramatic light in this painting is very well complimented by the choice of muted colors.
Quotes by Max Beckmann:

On my left the shooting had the sharp explosion of the infantry artillery, on my right could be heard the sporadic cannon shots thundering from the front, and up above the sky was clear and the sun bright.

What I want to show in my work is the idea which hides itself behind so-called reality.

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