Saturday, July 14, 2012


Opposite the Alte Pinakotech is the 2002 Stephan Braunfels designed Pinakotech der Moderne (photo from the website).

The four museums inside hold a vast wildly eclectic collection over several floors. The special exhibition on now is Frauen - Women by Picasso, de Kooning and Beckmann. More details including an invaluable virtual tour are hereThere are 22 de Koonings for a start, including one from Canberra, more than I'd ever imagined seeing together and the impact of this scale of exposure is huge. But Max Beckmann is really the core of the exhibition.

"Since the early 1970s and the transfer of the G√ľnther Franke Foundation, Max Beckmann’s works had been the subject of a research project that so far culminated in two highlights: the large “Max Beckmann Retrospective” of 1984 and “Max Beckmann. Exile in Amsterdam” of 2007/8, both exhibitions having been curated primarily by Carla Schulz-Hoffmann. Beginning with Max Beckmann, whose paintings reflect the fundamental questions of human existence, not least in his diametrical juxtaposition of self-portraits and depictions of women, the present exhibition would not have been complete without Pablo Picasso, whose depictions of women reflect everything that preoccupied him, both negative and positive, and Willem de Kooning, who for his part shifted the focus from the level of content to that of the painterly.  That this initially visionary project has finally been realized in the concrete form of an exhibition is due to the generous support of important international public institutions and private collections. With only a few exceptions, it has been possible to all obtain all works of decisive importance for the theme of the exhibition, making possible a presentation of extraordinary breadth and depth.             

The Beckmanns alone, dark and mysterious, will take at least one more visit. I struggled with them on first acquaintance, these unfamiliar works not easy for someone trapped down under. Most I think are in American collections. It is especially significant that this is happening here in Munich where the Saxon born Frankfurt based modernist, having raised the fury of and been denounced by Hitler and his NS goons, had his confiscated works put on display in the 1937 Munich Degenerate Art Exhibition. Beckmann self exiled to Amsterdam and poverty during the War before being finally accepted into the United States.

I have another week here for a focused Beckmann return.

The lower floors of the International Design Museum were a bit of relief.

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