Max Beckmann

The Tall Man

1921
In the dark days of hyperinflation and poverty in Weimar, Germany, following the end of the First World War, such fairs were important local entertainment. The sign "Panopticum" in the upper left advertises a waxworks display, but it also suggests that the circus can be seen as a metaphor for society, a place where life and art are intertwined. The arrangement of figures on the stage recalls the New Testament subject "Ecce Homo" (Behold the Man) in which Pontius Pilate presents Christ crowned with thorns to the people. Some of the figures in the print have been identified as Beckmann's associates. For instance, the man with the fez hat, tuba and checkered suit is thought to be the art dealer J.B. Neumann, while the smiling figure in the lower right below the stage appears to be Reinhard Piper, the publisher of the "Jahrmarkt" portfolio.
Artist
Title
The Tall Man
Date
1921
Medium
Print
Materials
drypoint on beige wove paper
Dimensions
52.7 x 38.1 cm; plate: 30.9 x 20.9 cm
Nationality
German
Credit line
Purchased 1991
Accession number
35576