Göpel 168; Tiedemann 168. Exhibitions: Große Kunst-Ausstellung, Städtischer Ausstellungspalast, Düsseldorf 1913, cat. no.39; Herbstausstellung (der aus der Berliner Secession Ausgetretenen), Ausstellungshaus am Kurfürstendamm, Berlin, 1913, cat. no.16; 1. Ausstellung, Künstler-Vereinigung Dresden, 1916, cat. no.13; From Kandinsky to Dix. painting of the German Expressionists, Nassau Museum of Art, Roslyn et. al. 1989, cat. no.1, p. 32, partially with col. illus. p. 33.Provenance: Studio of Max Beckmann;Kunstsalon Paul Cassirer, Berlin 1913, in Kommission; Studio of Max Beckmann, 1920.


• Early work from Beckmann’s Berlin period
• Painted in an academic style, depicting a semi-nude woman seen from behind
• Atmospheric and dense colour composition

In 1913, a woman sits propped up on a sofa and sinks, exhausted, into the cushions. She has turned her back on the viewers and on the painter Max Beckmann. Dressed in a bodice, underskirt and headdress, she seems frozen in an action. She is not naked, but is also no longer fully clothed; the composition of the clothing and their condition do not indicate a consciously fashionable ensemble. It almost seems as if the painter had surprised her while she was undressing. Beckmann captures the anonymous woman in a spontaneous moment: her skirt is slipping, her bare back appears almost brazen, and is thus automatically an erotic focus. Her anonymity combined with the intimacy of the scene are what make this picture so attractive. While we don’t know who the woman is, we get a glimpse into one of the most private moments of her day. Where was she before, this girl who hasn’t taken off her earring yet but has already taken off her skirt? The picture invites you to tell a story…The work was created in Berlin in 1913. Max Beckmann was 29 years old and still painting as academic tradition dictated. He repeatedly depicted women lying down, unknown and identifiable, throughout his work. They look out of the pictures, they are busy, imposing, flirtatious. They are typical Beckmann women, nude or in clothing. But Beckmann would never again disturb a woman while she was undressing, as he did in 1913.

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