What you should know about Saint Louis Art Museum’s collection of Max Beckmann paintings | St. Louis Public Radio

What you should know about Saint Louis Art Museum’s collection of Max Beckmann paintings

Jan 20, 2016

Lynette Roth's newest book on the Max Beckmann paintings at the Saint Louis Art Museum.

In 1983, the Saint Louis Art Museum was bequeathed the largest private collection of the work of German artist Max Beckmann in the world. Part of that collection now lives in the museum’s Grigg Gallery, but few people may know what the meaning of the artist’s work is.

Lynette Roth, the Daimler-Benz Curator of the Busch-Reisinger Museum in the Harvard Art Museums in Massachusetts, recently wrote a book chronicling the paintings in St. Louis. “Max Beckmann at the Saint Louis Art Museum” is a hardcover book divided into six sections that traces Beckmann’s artistic life. Photographs, illustrative material and discussions of Beckmann’s work are included in the book.

On Wednesday’s “St. Louis on the Air,” Roth joined host Don Marsh to discuss the Beckmann collection and her upcoming talk at the museum on January 22.

"The most exciting thing about Beckmann's art is that it leaves us with more questions than answers," Roth said.

Here are three interesting facts we learned about Beckmann from our conversation with Roth:

  1. When Beckmann initially came to the U.S. in 1947, he came to St. Louis and was a faculty member with Washington University. He lived here for two years before moving to New York.
  2. Beckmann painted over 40 self-portraits over the course of his life.
  3. Although many people label Beckmann as an "expressionist," his work actually falls a little outside of that realm. Roth said that has more to do with the United States' perception of German art in general.

Want to learn more about Beckmann and how his art ended up in the Saint Louis Art Museum? Check out this event:

Related Event

What: Max Beckmann's Paintings at the Saint Louis Art Museum

Where: Saint Louis Art Museum, One Fine Arts Drive, Forest Park, St. Louis, Mo., 63110

When: Friday, Jan. 22 at 7:00 p.m.

More information.

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary Edwards, Alex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.