Beckmann and the Self by Sister Wendy Beckett
Sister Wendy Beckett, the presenter of three major television series' on art, examines Max Beckmann's self-portraiture, shedding new light on the way the traumatic events in the artist's life were reflected in his painting. She observes "he painted himself as if thereby to find himself. If he could make visible...these lineaments, that expression, that visual record of his experience, then he might come to a deeper experience of what he was." By tracing the changing moods of Beckmann's painting throughout his life, Sister Wendy plots a series of peaks and troughs in the artist's feeling of self-worth. She correlates these directly with events in his life, and reveals a number of hidden selfportraits. Much of Beckmann's work was dramatically influenced by the two world wars, and Sister Wendy argues that it was only the artist's last works, in America, that demonstrated he had finally reached fulfillment.