Max Beckmann painted his double portrait with his second wife Matilda, also known as Quappi, during their stay in Amsterdam. The couple left Berlin for Amsterdam in 1937 and resided there for nearly ten years. Beckmann wears fine clothes, such as a silk scarf and bowler hat with the word “London” printed on the lining. The artist thus presents himself as a worldly gentleman. This portrait is more optimistic compared to his other works from the same period. The space, however, is closed and claustrophobic and the figures are pushed to the extreme foreground cutting off Beckmann’s elbow and Quappi’s shoulder. While they are physically interacting a separation remains between Beckmann and Quappi. She is smaller than Beckmann and stands behind him. In addition, each figure has its own background, black delineates Quappi’s space and an indiscriminate yellow frames the artist.
c/o Pictoright Amsterdam/Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Makers

Translated title

Double Portrait. Max and Mathilde Beckmann

Collection

Paintings

Production date

1941

Library

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Material

oil on canvas

Object number

A 1816