MODERNIST ICON FOR FRANKFURT – ACQUISITION OF MAX BECKMANN’S SELF-PORTRAIT WITH CHAMPAGNE GLASS
OUTSTANDING ACQUISITION FOR THE STÄDEL MUSEUM / PAINTING TO BE FOCUS OF SPECIAL PRESENTATION STARTING 9 DECEMBER
It is one of the most prominent acquisitions in the more than two hundred years of the Städel Museum’s history. Support from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, the Städelscher Museums-Verein, the Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung, the Kulturstiftung der Länder and five private patrons has made the acquisition of Max Beckmann’s Self-Portrait with Champagne Glass for the Städel Museum possible. Executed in 1919, the painting is one of the artist’s most well-known and important works. It has been on loan to the museum since 2011. Thanks to the acquisition, it will now remain in the Städel permanently.
The Self-Portrait with Champagne Glass is among the artist’s most striking self-likenesses. What is more, within a small group of self-portraits meanwhile considered iconic, it is the only one to have remained in private German ownership until now. The artwork was in the legendary collection of Hermann Lange of Krefeld, who acquired it in the 1920s. After Lange’s death, it remained in the possession of his descendants, from whom it has now been acquired for the Städel Museum. Max Beckmann is today the most well-known German exponent of Classical Modern art, primarily on account of his early reception in the USA.
It was three years ago that Städel director Philipp Demandt first signalled his interest in the work to Hermann Lange’s heirs. Extensive negotiations ensued, leading to a generous concession by the owners that paved the way for initial inquiries with institutional sponsors. The latter responded with pledges as spirited as they were substantial, and five private patrons followed suit by committing to similarly exceptional contributions. The artwork is currently on view in the Städel Museum’s Beckmann room. From 9 December 2020 to 5 April 2021 it will be the focus of a special presentation at the museum entitled “STÄDEL’S BECKMANN – BECKMANN’S STÄDEL: The Frankfurt Years”.
“The Self-Portrait with Champagne Glass is not only one of the most prominent paintings by our ‘in-house artist’ Max Beckmann, but also an icon of the twentieth century. It has been my fervent wish to acquire this key Beckmann artwork since I took office in Frankfurt. A dream that initially seemed impossible in view of the painting’s sheer value, but also its status as a work coveted worldwide, has now – three years later – come to happy realization. Never before has the Städel Museum succeeded in making an individual acquisition of this magnitude. We are as grateful to the entire community of private and public contributors for their overwhelming support as we are to the owners for the great confidence they have placed in the Städel Museum. Thanks to this concerted effort, Beckmann’s masterpiece is returning to Frankfurt – its place of origin – forever”, commented Städel director Philipp Demandt.
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