Max Beckmann: Blatt 8: Theaterfoyer, 1922, Aus der Grafikmappe „Berliner Reise“, Berlinische Galerie, VG BILD-KUNST Bonn, 2015

“At one on the dot each night, I am to be found in my café drinking absinthe and constant coffee,” the twenty-year-old Max Beckmann wrote from Berlin to his friend Caesar Kunwald.

In 1915, after his seminal experience in the First World War, Beckmann withdrew to Frankfurt am Main. He was disappointed that he had not managed to make his name as an artist in Berlin. Even so, he often returned to the city that was soon to become the hub of the international avant-garde. Here the artist revelled in the dissolute night life provided by elegant bars, seedy dives and frivolous music halls – the urban landscape for which the metropolis achieved such notoriety in the Golden Twenties. In the portfolio of prints he published as “Trip to Berlin” (1922), this night life played a central role. Beckmann’s style was new and emotionally gripping, and he depicted far more than the political and social changes ushered in by the young Weimar Republic. Many of the prints revealed the nocturnal temptations the city had to offer. In a laconic note to his publisher, Beckmann wrote: “As you can see from the programme, Berlin 1922 is finished. I think it has turned out well and quite amusing.”

In the late 1940s, from his home in America, Beckmann still cherished fond memories of Berlin’s uproarious night life. In his lecture “Letters to a Woman Painter”, he recalls: “Were you not sometimes with me in the deep cavern of champagne glasses where red lobsters scuttle and black waiters serve red rumbas to send fire charging through veins in the wild dance – where white dresses and black silk stockings cling about the narrow hips of young gods between orchid blossoms and the clashing of tambourines?”

Come to the exhibition Max Beckmann and Berlin to discover – among other things – the licentious night life of Berlin’s Golden Twenties as illustrated by the portfolio “Trip to Berlin” (1922).

Guided tours in german "Max Beckmann und das Nachtleben":
12.12., 26.12., 09.01 16:30 Uhr – 17:30 Uhr

More information here.

Read more stories about Max Beckmann here.




Berlinische Galerie

Landesmuseum für Moderne
Kunst, Fotografie und Architektur
Stiftung Öffentlichen Rechts

Alte Jakobstraße 124–128
10969 Berlin Germany

Tel +49 (0)30-789 02-600
Fax +49 (0)30-789 02-700

Opening hours

Wednesday–Monday 10 am–6 pm

Closed on 24.12. and 31.12.

Floor plan

PDF Floor Plan