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Self-Portrait 1950

Max Beckmann, German, 1884–1950
Oil on canvas
Made in
New York, New York, United States, North and Central America
Current Location
On View, Gallery 216
55 1/8 x 36 in. (140 x 91.4 cm)
framed: 66 15/16 in. x 48 in. x 3 3/16 in. (170 x 121.9 x 8.1 cm)
Credit Line
Bequest of Morton D. May
© 2005 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, NY / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Object Number
In this self-portrait Max Beckmann wears a brightly colored shirt and sport coat, and stands in his studio contemplating an unseen painting. A canvas is turned to the wall behind him. Beckmann’s body seems almost lost in his clothing, and this diminished status references his failing health in his final years. This is the last of approximately 40 self-portraits that Beckmann produced. The work was shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1950; Beckmann suffered a fatal heart attack while crossing Central Park to view the exhibition.
1950 - 1960
Mathilde Q. Beckmann, New York, NY, USA, by inheritance from the artist

1960 - 1983
Morton D. May (1914-1983), St. Louis, MO, purchased from Mathilde Q. Beckmann, through Catherine Viviano Gallery, New York, NY [1]

1983 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, bequest of Morton D. May [2]

[1] Morton D. May purchased this painting from the artist's wife, Mathilde Q. (Quappi) Beckmann [letter from Catherine Viviano, January 14, 1960; May record sheet, May Archives, Saint Louis Art Museum].

[2] Last Will and Testament of M. D. May dated June 11, 1982 [copy, May Archives, Saint Louis Art Museum]. Minutes of the Acquisitions and Loans Committee of the Board of Trustees, Saint Louis Art Museum, September 20, 1983.
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