The Museum of Art in Mendrisio presents a great exhibition dedicated to Max Beckmann (1884-1950), one of the greatest masters of modern art, an artist who, with Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, appears in the most important museums in the world.
Despite his pictorial mastery, plastic and graphics, his works – unsettling, enigmatic and sensual – continues to be a challenge for the observer. Incredibly, his work is still not known in the Italian cultural field: the only noteworthy exhibition was held in 1996 at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome.
The exhibition in Mendrisio, curated by Siegfried Gohr, one of the artist’s leading scholars, presents 30 paintings, 17 watercolors, 80 graphics and 2 sculptures, will be an opportunity not only to rediscover the main chapters of the work of this unique master, but also to revisit his artistic journey through all the techniques he used. It is also a rare occasion to admire most of its exceptional graphic production, elaborated mainly between 1917 and 1925 and after the Second World War.
The exhibition, conceived with a chronological course and with rooms dedicated to specific themes, allows us to comprehend the evolution of its artistic language from a late Impressionistic style to the forced break due to the Great War and to the subsequent reduction to the essentials of lines, shapes, colors.
Beckmann has given new life to the traditional art categories: still lifes, interior scenes, landscapes, portraits. Above all, self-portraits are an impressive contemporary biographical and historical testimony, while the complex part of his work consists of mythological and allegorical inventions, which often present themselves as particularly enigmatic.
Among the artists of the twentieth century, Max Beckmann is one of those who most intensely lived, felt and suffered his time. The fame, the exile, the ostracism, and then a new appreciation during the last years of his life, reflect the destiny of modern art and its creators in the first half of the century.