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Self-Portrait in Bowler Hat (Selbstbildnis mit steifem Hut)

Max Beckmann

European Art

The German Expressionist Max Beckmann created more than eighty self-portraits during his career—many of them prints, which afforded him a range of marks, lines, and textures with which to articulate his own shifting attitudes and emotional states. In this densely worked, spiky image, he appears as a gentleman wearing a bowler hat, stiff collar, and tie, holding a cigarette rakishly. A cat—placed so it seems to be whispering in his ear—and an oil lamp flank him. His form is pushed to the front of the picture plane, with his large eyes conveying a sense of detached appraisal.

Beckmann immigrated to the United States in 1947 and taught for several years at the Brooklyn Museum Art School (which closed in 1985).
MEDIUM Drypoint on laid paper
  • Place Made: Germany
  • DATES 1921
    DIMENSIONS Image (Plate): 12 1/2 x 9 7/16 in. (31.8 x 24 cm) Sheet: 19 1/4 x 13 1/4 in. (48.9 x 33.7 cm)  (show scale)
    SIGNATURE Signed, "Beckmann" lower right margin in pencil
    INSCRIPTIONS Lower left in graphite: "2 Zustand, Selbst mit Hut 2i"; lower right in graphite: "Beckmann"; bottom right later addition in graphite: "Beckmann, Max, 1884-1950 GER/Self-portrait in A HAT, 1921" Verso bottom right in graphite: "64.101.350"
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    ACCESSION NUMBER 64.101.350
    CREDIT LINE Gift of The Louis E. Stern Foundation, Inc.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Max Beckmann (Leipzig, Germany, 1884–1950, New York, New York). Self-Portrait in Bowler Hat (Selbstbildnis mit steifem Hut), 1921. Drypoint on laid paper, Image (Plate): 12 1/2 x 9 7/16 in. (31.8 x 24 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of The Louis E. Stern Foundation, Inc., 64.101.350. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: , 64.101.350_PS9.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 64.101.350_PS9.jpg., 2019
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