Monday, January 5, 2015

Max Monday

Things like the following do happen to me: out of the blue one day I had the thought to google the words "Max Beckmann straw". Just very suddenly I had those words in mind, without any idea as to why.

And in the box to the right that has a collection of images, I saw a painting by Beckmann that I had never seen before, to my delight, (because, believe me, I have exhausted the search engine in finding new Beckmann paintings, and here and there I still find new ones) and so clicked on it, to find that the painting was by someone else, a woman who was a student of Beckmann back in Germany.

The word "straw" brought me to this article on the artist Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, owing to the word in both Self-Portait with Straw Hat (the image I mistook as being by Beckmann) and in the telling of how Motesiczky came to meet Max Beckmann:

During the summer of 1920, the German artist Max Beckmann, introduced by a family member, paid a visit to the Motesiczky’s.  By playfully entertaining the teenager with an impromptu dinner skit involving a piece of straw dipped in wine, he enthralled the 14-year-old Marie-Louise with his personality, and later his art, laying the foundation for their deep and lasting friendship.

One of the things about knowing Beckmann's work by eye is that you can easily tell a work that is by someone else closely imitating him, just like the way you can tell a work is not by Van Gogh, though the artist has employed his style and bent with great earnestness.

But with this lady I had been foiled! I thought for sure it was by Beckmann, and I was astonished to see further images by Motesiczky. While you can start to tell how they are different from Beckmann after some acquaintance, I had to remark that the close adoption of Beckmann's manner of painting seemed to disclose something somewhat disquieting, if not disturbing.

Reading a bit more about her life, it would seem there was a  disposition to want to be deeply coloured by the men in her life, as would seem to be evidenced by the pinning of her happiness on an affair with a writer later in her life, which was also, alas, her misery. This was perhaps compounded by her mother taking her away from potential suitors early in her life.

Anyways, I like the way her painting developed, her paintings of her mother.

Motesiczky made one of the most beautiful statements any artist has made about their work and its purpose:

"My longing is to paint beautiful pictures, to become happy in doing so, and to make other people happy through them."

That is saying a lot more than one may realize.

Now that you know something about her, maybe say a prayer for her soul. Maybe that was the reason I was led to read about her and share her work.

And say a prayer for Beckmann and Quappi too and Beckmann's first wife Minna.


Terry Nelson said...

What if you are channeling Beckman?

Anyway - what is the difference between selfie and self portrait?

Something to think about, huh.


Paul Stilwell said...

What if I took a selfie with a self-portrait in the background?

Or I made a self-portrait of me taking a selfie?

I think Beckmann's paintings channel the viewer.

Which is maybe crazy.

Anyway, maybe pornography is HUGE and Chris West is channeling the latent divinity that's been sexted in our selfie? What?