Dr. Anja Tiedemann on the world's first online catalog raisonné of all paintings by Max Beckmann.
Updated: Apr 28
Today, I interview Dr. Anja Tiedemann, Max Beckmann expert on the world's first online catalog raisonné of all paintings by the artist Max Beckmann.
Copyright: Justus Bockelmann.
How long did you work to achieve the world's first online catalog raisonné of all paintings by the artist Max Beckmann?
Together with my staff, I worked on it for 5 years. The costs were shouldered by the Kaldewei Cultural Foundation.
Copyright: website Max Beckmann. https://www.beckmann-gemaelde.org/
Which paintings are the most famous or represent the most Max Beckmann?
Max Beckmann was one of the most important artists of the 20th century, not only in Germany, but internationally. He created works of art for almost 50 years. His experiences in the First World War lead him to completely change his entire art production. For me personally, therefore, the paintings that show this radical change are the most important. Then there are the ten triptychs, which hold a special position. I do not want to single out individual paintings. They are all important.
On July 19, 1937, the touring exhibition " Degenerate Art " opens in the Hofgartenarkaden, Munich . A total of 21 works by the artist were defamed. Can you explain how he reacted?
The exhibition "Degenerate Art" was put together in a few days. For this purpose, officials traveled throughout Germany and confiscated the works of art in museums. Max Beckmann had repeatedly thought about his emigration, but had always delayed this serious step.He left Germany on July 17, 1937, two days later the exhibition "Degenerate Art" was opened. He never returned to Germany.
Which of the paintings shown in the exhibition "Degenerate Art" were qualified of “degenerate art”?
There is no such thing as "degenerate" art. Not then and not today. Even the Nazis did not know exactly what they meant by that. There is no system according to which they proceeded. The entire action was an act of arbitrariness in a totalitarian state.
How many paintings and photographs can we find in the catalog raisonne?
There are 843 paintings. 706 are shown with color illustrations, 70 only with black and white illustrations, as we were unable to determine their location despite intensive research.
Are there some paintings missing from the artist?
If you go to the "Paintings" page and click on "Status", you can see what has happened to the paintings.
Several important works by Beckmann were found in the Munich flat of Cornelius Gurlitt in 2012, and are the subject of intense scrutiny by the German police and art historians for their provenance and sale during the Nazi period. Are they part of the Catalog Raisonne? Have they been restituted?
No paintings by Max Beckmann were found at Cornelius Gurlitt, only works on paper. These are not represented in the catalogue raisonné of paintings. Whether works on paper were restituted must be answered by the experts of the task force.
For any information about Erhard Goepel please see https://www.beckmann-gemaelde.org/projekt/barbara-und-erhard-goepel
Many thanks Dr. Anja Tiedemann !