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547, homage to Max

Joe's Daily Drawing

1998 Year 1 No. 33 Aug 27

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Beckmann / Joe

David's lesson

547, hommage to Max


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Something nice 'n easy today. A still life. Not very common in my oeuvre. At Christmas 1984, I got Max Beckmann's diary from my wife. Being one of my favorites, it fascinated me. He did some landscapes and still lifes, too, in his life, and as it turned out, he did not value these things very high. He did them mainly for sales purposes, but nevertheless they are great.

I remember a visit at the eminent Cologne art fair in the 90ies. I wandered for hours and saw thousands of works, was quite tired soon. Then I came to the booth of a New York gallery. They had fine works all over, but one tiny interior of Max Beckmann stuck out clearly. I returned to that booth twice to see this one. It was really small, just like the painting of today (8x12"), but it overwhelmed the whole stand. I had never seen it before and have never since. It was much better than anything else they had to offer. I never approached this painting, it was perfectly fine from some distance.

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They had two sales persons, a man and a woman, both looking distinguished, educated, learned. It didn't take them long to notice my fascination. They knew I was hooked, and if I had had the money I sure would have bought this precious little thing. A real gem. And they obviously knew just as well as I that this small Beckmann was by far the best they had to offer. I did not ask for the price, and they did not approach me to offer advice. They probably figured out that this was not my price class at least, that maybe I was not an art buyer in the first place, a lover only.

After Christmas, I did in a row this still life, a landscape and an interior, and now I realize, that I really did it in honor of Max Beckmann. That year, people had celebrated his 100th birthday, and on occasion of the art fair Basel I had published my Basel Manifesto, in Honor of Max Beckmann.

547, 548, 549: in Honor of Max

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If you look at the upper right corner of the still life, you will see a painter at work (better seen in the larger view), which is rather a homage to Pablo Picasso. The landscape is lower saxony with the typical farm houses and roof adornments (horse heads), and there is a wagon coming home with grain sheafs, two horses pulling it, a long pole fixed on top to hold it down. A reminiscence of my youth. Of course, it is not a scene I recall, it just came along like a dream just as all the other paintings. The interior is crammed full with stuff in typical Beckmann manner, using his kind of accessories, too. Sometimes I wonder if these pictures also make fun of him, like my portrait of Picasso and his wife Olga.

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