Max Beckmann (1884-1950) was a painter and educator who was born and educated in Germany and based in New York after World War II.
Max Beckmann was born in 1884 in Leipzig, Germany. He studied art at the Weimar-Saxon Grand Ducal Art Academy from 1900 to 1902 and graduated with honors. During World War I, he volunteered as a medical orderly from 1914 t0 1915, an experience that haunted him and deeply impacted his artwork. Beckmann's art is considered part of the German New Objectivity movement.
In 1925, Beckmann's first marriage to Minna Tube ended in divorce, and he married Mathilde von Kaulbach. That same year he began teaching art at the Städelschule Academy of Fine Art in Frankfurt. By the late 1920s he had several major exhibitions in museums and galleries in Germany and Switzerland, had his first exhibition in the US (1926), and his paintings were acquired by the National Gallery in Berlin.
When Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany in 1933 and the Nazis came to power, marking the end of the Weimar Republic, modern art was quickly suppressed and derisively referred to as "degenerate art." Consequently, Beckmann lost his teaching job at the Frankfurt Art Academy and several of his paintings were included in the Degenerate Art or Entartete Kunst exhibition (1937) in Munich. Shortly thereafter, Beckmann left Germany and never returned to the country again.
Beckmann and his wife Mathilde settled in Amsterdam, where they stayed for approximately ten years. Beckmann continued to paint during this time. After the end of World War II, Beckmann immigrated to the United States where he taught, painted, and regularly exhibited his work. He taught art at Washington State University in St. Louis, Missouri, for a time and then became an art professor at the Brooklyn Museum's Art School in New York. Max Beckmann died in 1950.