In the exhibition "Man - Myth - World", the Von der Heydt Museum, Wuppertal, presents two pioneers of art history: Pablo Picasso (1881 - 1973) and Max Beckmann (1884 - 1950). Although their approaches are different, their work each provided important impulses for the further development of painting in the first half of the 20th century. Both renegotiated art historical traditions in order to radically rethink questions of pictorial conception in the interplay between figuration, abstraction and spatiality.
The show, created in collaboration with the Sprengel Museum Hannover and drawing on the extensive Picasso and Beckmann holdings of both museums, now offers the opportunity for the first time to view both positions in depth in direct juxtaposition. In 1911, the Von der Heydt Museum was the first museum worldwide to acquire a painting by Pablo Picasso; Beckmann's "Self-Portrait as Nurse" (1915) came to Wuppertal in 1925 through the Barmer Kunstverein.
Beckmann and Picasso probably never met in person, but they certainly noticed each other's work. While Picasso was very positive about Beckmann's first exhibition in Paris in 1931, the latter is said to have been particularly spurred on by the success of his competitor. Although their artistic work, their attitudes and living conditions were quite different, the exhibition reveals astonishing parallels in the work of Beckmann and Picasso.
We are very pleased that the painting "Stillleben mit Weingläsern und Katze (Still Life with Wine Glasses and Cat)" (1929) by Max Beckmann - acquired from us by a private collection - is part of this show.
The Von der Heydt Museum is taking part in the international project "Celebrating Picasso 1973 - 2023", which pays tribute to the artist's work on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his death.