Michael Hofmann reviews Max Beckmann in New York at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, on view through February 20, 2017.
Hofmann writes: "One of the interesting things about Beckmann is how much the paintings moved and morphed under him. The form of the triptych was arrived at adventitiously; he simply had more material than could be fitted onto one canvas. Colours shifted all the time. In the course of five months, the portrait of Quappi went from ‘green and blue’ to ‘green, black and yellow’ to ‘blue, green and yellow’ to the final ‘grey’... In some way, these paintings are not copied from any reality, not Platonic approaches, or aspirations towards any ‘ideal’ scene, so much as improvised solutions to self-set problems of structure and colour."