Support: Imitation Japan paper
Sheet: 83.2 x 65.2 cm (32 3/4 x 25 11/16 in.)
© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Norman O. Stone and Ella A. Stone Memorial Fund 2009.355
After World War I, Max Beckmann produced a portfolio of lithographs under the title Die Holle (Hell). Its publication coincided with civil unrest including heavy street fighting during the so-called November Riots of 1918 that followed Germany’s defeat. Here, the caricatured faces and cropped, overpacked, and stage-like composition portray the ideologues, the war-maimed, the famished, and the deranged. One of Beckmann’s contemporaries, the art historian Paul Schmidt, wrote that it signaled the artist’s new role as a prophet. This aligned with Beckmann’s self-stated aim to expose the “ghastly cry of the poor disillusioned people.”
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