An image of Mother and daughter

Max Beckmann

(Germany 12 Feb 1884 – 27 Dec 1950)

Mother and daughter

Other titles:
Old woman in ermine, Old lady with daughter
19th & 20th c European art
Further information

Although associated with German expressionism and the New Objectivity movement, Max Beckmann occupies his own category as a moral fabulist. His proclivity was for symbolic narratives, often large in scale and complex in iconography, that highlight the tragicomic fate of humanity. The triptych, with its sacred associations, was the format he favoured for important projects, producing a significant number of them at the time of his forced flight from Nazism in 1937. Beckmann's portraits, still-life subjects, nudes and smaller genre pieces are equally invested with a sense of the sacramental. Ever the sceptical recorder of the follies of the world, even his most affectionate works have a cynical edge. 'Mother and daughter' [invested with Beckham's sense of the sacramental]: might be read as a prostitute presented for our inspection by the madam of the brothel. Or perhaps the older woman signifies exhausted Europe, counterpoised with the vital New World of America. Beckmann relocated to the United States in 1947 after a decade spent in Holland.

AGNSW Handbook, 1999.

oil on canvas
150.5 x 80.5 cm stretcher; 172.4 x 102.9 x 6.5 cm frame
Signature & date

Signed and dated l.c., black oil "Beckmann / ... 46".

Art Gallery of New South Wales Foundation Purchase 1987
Accession number
© Max Beckmann/Bild-Kunst. Licensed by Copyright Agency
Mathilde Quappi Beckmann, 1950-1967?, New York/New York/United States of America
Catherine Viviano Gallery, 1967, New York/New York/United States of America, with Catherine Viviano Gallery 1967. Exhibited in 'Twelve paintings of women by Max Beckmann' 7 Feb - 4 Mar 1967, Catherine Viviano Gallery handled the estate of Max Beckmann.
Private Collection, 1976, New York/New York/United States of America, Listed in 'Max Beckmann: Katalog der Gemälde' Band I, 1976, pg. 437, as New York, Privatbesitz
Grace Borgenicht Gallery, circa 1985, New York/New York/United States of America, Purchased by Galerie Beyeler from Grace Borgenicht Gallery 1985
Galerie Beyeler, 1985-01 May 1987, Basel/Switzerland, Purchased by the AGNSW from Galerie Beyeler 1987. Galerie Beyeler stock no. 10714