Beckmann’s Self Portrait with Jam Jar and Scissors

The title of this print refers to the German painter Max Beckmann, who was determined in his pursual of narrative figuration at a time when his contemporaries were leaning heavily towards abstraction. Commonly classified as contributing to the Expressionist movement, Beckmann refused both movement and classification, making him an anti-hero within the narrative of his time.

This direct gravure print with drypoint has its origins in an image Kentridge hand-painted on dictionary paper with India ink in his studio. In the image, Beckmann’s portrait – a reference to Self-Portrait in Tuxedo in oil on canvas that hangs in the Busch-Reisinger Museum of the Harvard University Art Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts – lies on the table, flanked by a pair of scissors and a jam jar filled with flowers. Not uncommon in Kentridge’s own oeuvre, this juxtaposition of ordinary objects with scholarly, highbrow references nods a head to Beckmann’s dedicated desire to engage in “a raw, average vulgar art, which doesn’t live between sleepy fairy-tale moods and poetry but rather concedes a direct entrance to the fearful, commonplace, splendid and the average grotesque banality in life.”


Beckmann's Self Portrait with Jam Jar and Scissors

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Edition Size:

Image Height:
46.7 cm

Image Width:
40 cm

Sheet Height:
56.5 cm

Sheet Width:
50 cm

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