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Important acquisition at the Städel Museum: Max Beckmann's Self-Portrait with Champagne Glass

14.10.2020 | 16:08 Clock | Culture
Important acquisition at the Städel Museum: Max Beckmann's Self-Portrait with Champagne Glass

The Städel Museum is delighted to announce one of the most significant acquisitions in the museum's more than two-century history: the painting Self-Portrait with Champagne Glass by Max Beckmann, which had been on loan to the museum since 2011, is now a permanent part of the Städel Museum's collection, thanks to the support of the State Minister of Culture, the Städelscher Museums-Verein, the Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung, the Kulturstiftung der Länder, and five private patrons. Painted in Frankfurt in 1919, it is one of the artist's best-known and most important works, making it a truly significant acquisition for the museum.

The Self-Portrait with Champagne Glass is one of the artist's most impressive self-portraits; moreover, it is the only one of a small group of self-portraits that have become iconic that was still in private German possession. The work comes from the legendary private collection of Hermann Lange in Krefeld, who had already acquired it in the 1920s. Since that time, the painting has been continuously in the possession of his descendants, from whom it has now been acquired for the Städel Museum. Today, Max Beckmann is the best-known German representative of Classical Modernism, primarily due to his early reception in the United States.

Already three years ago, Städel Director Philipp Demandt contacted Hermann Lange's heirs with the desire to acquire the painting. After intensive discussions, the owners paved the way for initial inquiries to institutional patrons through a generous concession, whose equally spirited and significant pledges were followed by five private patrons with again exceptional individual pledges. The artwork is currently on view in the Beckmann Room of the Städel Museum and will be the focus of the special presentation "STÄDELS BECKMANN / BECKMANNS STÄDEL. The Years in Frankfurt"at the Städel Museum.

Director Philipp Demandt is happy that the negotiations have been concluded satisfactorily: "The Self-Portrait with Champagne Glass is not only one of the most important paintings by our in-house artist Max Beckmann, but also an icon of the 20th century. Ever since I took office in Frankfurt, the acquisition of this key work by Beckmann has been my heart's desire. What initially seemed unattainable in view of the value of this globally coveted painting has now, after three years, come to a happy conclusion. Never before has the Städel Museum managed a single acquisition on this scale. We are as grateful to all private and state sponsors for their overwhelming commitment as we are to the owners for their great trust in the Städel Museum - through this collaborative effort, Beckmann's masterpiece will return forever to Frankfurt, to the place where it was painted," said Demandt.

The Minister of State for Culture and the Media, Monika Grütters, emphasizes the importance of the painting for the museum's art collection: "For good reason, Max Beckmann's Self-Portrait with Champagne Glass can be assessed as a nationally significant work of art: Within his significant extensive oeuvre, it marks the tension between the still fresh wounds of the First World War and the beginnings of the Weimar period. Unquestionably, it is a key work in the artist's impressive Œuvre. The Federal Government has therefore supported efforts to acquire this masterpiece. For the Städel Museum and for national heritage, the successful acquisition is a real stroke of luck."

Over the great commitment of the Städelscher Museums-Verein to the acquisition, the chairwoman Sylvia von Metzler comments, "The Städel Museum in Frankfurt and Max Beckmann are connected in a special way. For Max Beckmann, Frankfurt was for a long time both a home and a place of artistic inspiration. It was the citizens of this city who wanted his works of art to be preserved in the Städel Museum even during Beckmann's lifetime. With the acquisition of the painting Self-Portrait with Champagne Glass for Frankfurt, we are now continuing this tradition in an impressive way."

"The Ernst von Siemens Art Foundation is supporting the acquisition of the Self-Portrait with Champagne Glass with a substantial grant. Our founder, the entrepreneur and patron Ernst von Siemens, was concerned not only to preserve works of art of the highest quality for the general public, but also to bring them to the right place. With our support, we have once again been able to achieve this goal - in an almost ideal way," said Martin Hoernes, Secretary General of the Ernst von Siemens Art Foundation.

"It was in Frankfurt am Main that Max Beckmann created many of his most important works. We are pleased that we were able to support the purchase of this outstanding painting for the Städel Museum - it will thus remain in the place where one of the largest Beckmann collections is held today. The museum lost almost all of its first Beckmann collection in 1937 as a result of the National Socialists' confiscation campaign. With this purchase, we can now add a capital work to the Beckmann collection at the Städel Museum, which was rebuilt after the Second World War. Max Beckmann is one of the most important German artists of the 20th century. It is thus crucial to secure the whereabouts of the work Self-Portrait with Champagne Glass in Germany," says Frank Druffner, deputy secretary general of the Kulturstiftung der Länder.

More info is also available at: https://www.staedelmuseum.en/exhibitions/staedels-beckmann-beckmanns-staedel

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