- Museum number
- Object: Gesellschaft 1915 (Society 1915)
Society 1915; faces of various figures. 1915
- Production date
Height: 260 millimetres
Width: 320 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Text from Frances Carey & Antony Griffiths, 'The Print in Germany 1880-1933', BM 1984, no.131
In late May 1915 Beckmann suffered a nervous breakdown; nothing is known of his whereabouts for the next three months. In September he was in Strasbourg making medical drawings at an institute of hygiene. It was not until October that a friendly doctor had him released from service. Instead of returning to his wife and son in Berlin, he went to Frankfurt where he was put up by his old friend from the days at art school in Weimar, Ugi Battenberg (1879-1957) and his wife Fridel (1880-1965). Ugi, who had stopped painting, handed over his studio on the top floor above their flat to Beckmann, who used it until his departure from Frankfurt in 1933. Their portraits frequently recur in Beckmann's work of the following years (e.g. 1982,0724.27(10)), with those of other friends and relations. This print shows an evening at their home. The participants have been identified as (left to right) their maid Klara, Major von Braunbehrens, Fridel Battenburg, Lili von Braunbehrens, Ugi Battenburg and Wanda von Braunbehrens (see the 1984 Munich/ Berlin catalogue no. 229). Major von Braunbehrens was responsible for getting Beckmann discharged from military service in 1917; the book of poems 'Stadtnacht' written by Lili, his daughter (see Carey & Griffiths 1984, cat no. 245) was later illustrated by Beckmann.
This print was published by Israel Ber Neumann (1887-1961), who from 1920 was Beckmann's sole dealer, selling his paintings against a monthly salary. He had previously published many of his early lithographs, and later commissioned 'Die Hölle' and 'Berliner Reise'. Viennese by origin, he went to Berlin in 1911. In 1923 he emigrated to New York, where he remained active as a dealer until his death, giving Beckmann his first American showing in 1926. The letters Beckmann wrote to him between 1920 and 1939 (published in the 1984 Frankfurt catalogue, pp. 265-89) show how highly he valued him as one of the very few who really understood his painting. He turns up with Fridel Battenburg in the painting of 1920, 'Fastnacht', now in the Tate Gallery.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1984 May-Jul, London, Tate Gallery, 'Beckmann's Carnival'
1984/5 Sept-Jan, BM, 'The Print in Germany 1880-1933', no.131
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number