© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2013


Self-Portrait with Bowler Hat


Drypoint, trial proof
Inv. No. SG 2993

32.3 × 24.7 cm

zur  Biographie

A well-to-do member of society, dressed – as if to go out – in a dark suit and bowler hat: it is thus that the artist Max Beckmann depicts himself before the background of his lamp-lit studio. The interior described in the first state of this drypoint etching would later be removed; the cat now still perched on the subject’s arm would be assigned an independent position and a symbol-like role. One of Beckmann’s numerous self-portraits, this is one of his most famous works in the area of printmaking. He gave this trial proof – like many of his graphic works – to Fridel and Ugi Battenberg, a couple who had given him a home in Frankfurt in 1915 and placed a studio in Schweizer Strasse (Frankfurt-Sachsenhausen) at his disposal. In 1937, the Städel’s Beckmann holdings were labelled “degenerate” by the Nazi administration and confiscated, almost without exception. In the early 1950s, however, the Städtische Galerie succeeded in purchasing more than 160 works, constituting an outstanding collection of Beckmann prints, from the Battenberg estate for the museum.

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