La vecchia attrice

Max Beckmann, La vecchia attrice | The old actress
Max Beckmann, La vecchia attrice [dettaglio] | The old actress [detail]
Max Beckmann, La vecchia attrice [dettaglio] | The old actress [detail]
Max Beckmann, La vecchia attrice | The old actress
Autore: 
Beckmann, Max (1884-1950)
Titolo: 
La vecchia attrice
Altri titoli: 
The old actress
Periodo: 
XX secolo
Datazione: 
1926
Classificazione: 
Dipinto
Tecnica e materiali: 
Olio su tela
Dimensioni (altezza x larghezza in centimetri): 
100,5 x 70,5
Annotazioni: 
Firma e data in alto a sinistra: Beckmann / F 24
Luogo di conservazione: 
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, USA
Acquisizione: 
Lascito di William Kelly Simpson, 2017
Identificativo: 
2017.370

Note:

Si vede nel suo volto, segnato dalle pieghe di molti ruoli, che ha un passato. . .

Beckmann era orgoglioso di questo ritratto, lo descriveva come "grande" e lo annoverava tra le sue "opere principali", ma non ha mai identificato la modella. Si riferiva a lei solo come "una vecchia attrice" o "la vecchia signora". Deve averla conosciuta bene, però, perché di solito sceglieva i soggetti dei suoi ritratti dalla sua cerchia di amici e familiari. Quando rappresentava gli anziani, come sua madre e soprattutto sua suocera, mostrava il suo affetto e il pedaggio dell'età su un volto antico e raffinato. Deve essere stato attratto dai tratti innatamente espressivi di questa donna particolare, il cui naso forte, la bocca affilata e le folte sopracciglia nere trasmettono tenacia, resilienza e rassegnazione. Probabilmente non è mai stata bella e quindi aver avuto ruoli da protagonista. Il suo severo abito nero con rifiniture bianche e inserto in pizzo evoca l'abbigliamento clericale. Solo la spilla e gli orecchini d'oro e il gatto rossiccio accoccolato nel suo grembo contrastano l'oscurità proiettata da questa sopravvissuta indurita.

Il celebre storico dell'arte tedesco Julius Meier-Graefe considerava il ritratto eccezionale e lo acquistò nel 1926. Il dipinto fu presentato nella prima mostra personale di Beckmann negli Stati Uniti, al New Art Circle di J. B. Neumann a New York, nell'aprile del 1927. Recensendo questo quadro, il New York Times descriveva il soggetto come seduto ". . . volutamente, in attesa di nulla. . . . . Si vede nel suo volto, segnato dalle pieghe di molti ruoli, che ha un passato. . . ".

Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, cofondatrice del Museum of Modern Art di New York nel 1929, deve aver concordato con la valutazione di Meier-Graefe su La vecchia attrice, perché ha acquistato il dipinto da Neumann a New York nel 1930. È stata la seconda opera di Beckmann ad entrare in una collezione privata negli Stati Uniti. Il dipinto è rimasto ai discendenti della signora Rockefeller fino alla sua donazione al Met nel 2017.

 


 

You can see in her face, lined with the creases of many roles, that she has a past . . .

Beckmann was proud of this portrait, describing it as "great" and counting it among his "major works," but he never identified the sitter. He referred to her only as "an old actress," or "the old lady." He must have known her well, however, because he usually chose the subjects of his portraits from his circle of friends and family. When representing elder sitters, such as his mother and especially his mother-in-law, he showed his affection and the toll of age on a refined old face. He must have been attracted to the innately expressive features of this particular woman, whose strong nose, sharp mouth, and thick black eyebrows convey toughness, resilience, and resignation. She probably was never beautiful and would therefore have played character roles. Her severe black dress with white trim and lace insert evokes clerical garb. Only the gold pin and earrings and the ginger cat nestled in her lap counter the starkness projected by this hardened survivor.

The renowned German art historian Julius Meier-Graefe considered the portrait to be outstanding and acquired it in 1926. The painting was presented in Beckmann's first solo exhibition in the United States, at J. B. Neumann's New Art Circle in New York, in April 1927. Singling out this picture, the reviewer for The New York Times described the subject as sitting "...purposely, waiting for nothing....You can see in her face, lined with the creases of many roles, that she has a past..."

Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, a cofounder of the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1929, must have agreed with Meier-Graefe's assessment of The Old Actress, because she bought the painting from Neumann in New York in 1930. It was the second work by Beckmann to enter a private collection in the United States. The painting remained with the descendants of Mrs. Rockefeller until it was given to The Met in 2017.

Sabine Rewald
Jacques and Natasha Gelman Curator of Modern Art
Department of Modern and Contemporary Art

Provenienza:

  • Julius Meier-Graefe, Berlin, acquistato dall'artista, 1926.
  • J. B. Neumann, New York, 1927 - 1930.
  • Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, New York, acquistato da Neumann, 1930 - almeno fino al 1932.
  • Abigail Rockefeller Milton Pardee Mauzé, New York, figlia di Abby Aldrich Rockfeller, 1935 - m. 1976.
  • Marilyn Ellen Rockefeller Milton Simpson, Boston, figlia di Abigail Rockfeller, 1976 - m. 1980.
  • William Kelly Simpson, New York, marito di Marilyn Ellen Rockfeller, 1980 - m. 2017.
  • William Kelly Simpson Revocable Trust, donato al Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Mostre:

  • New York. New Art Circle, J. B. Neumann. "Max Beckmann," April 12–May 11, 1927, no. 11 [catalogue published in "Artlover" 2, no. 6].
  • Museum of Modern Art, New York. "German Painting and Sculpture," March 13–April 26, 1931, no. 6 (as "Old Actress," lent by a private collection, New York).
  • Philadelphia. Pennsylvania Museum of Art. "Living Artists," November 20, 1931–January 1, 1932, unnumbered cat. (as "Old Actress," lent by Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Jr.) [published in "Pennsylvania Museum Bulletin," vol. 27, January 1932, p. 68].
  • Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Summer Exhibition: Painting and Sculpture," June 7–October 30, 1932, no catalogue.
  • Art Institute of Chicago. "A Century of Progress: Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture," May 23–October 31, 1933, no. 745 (lent by a private collection).
  • New York. Museum of Modern Art. "Summer Exhibition: The Museum Collection and a Private Collection on Loan," June 4–September 24, 1935, no catalogue [added to the exhibition on June 18, 1935].
  • City Art Museum of Saint Louis. "Max Beckmann, 1948: Retrospective Exhibition," May 10–June 28, 1948, no. 15 (as "Old Actress," lent by Mrs. Irving H. Pardee, New York).
  • Detroit Institute of Arts. "Max Beckmann, 1948: Retrospective Exhibition," July 1948, no. 15.
  • Los Angeles County Museum. "Max Beckmann, 1948: Retrospective Exhibition," August 3–September 5, 1948, no. 15.
  • Baltimore Museum of Art. "Max Beckmann, 1948: Retrospective Exhibition," October 31–November 24, 1948, no. 15.
  • Minneapolis Institute of Arts. "Max Beckmann, 1948: Retrospective Exhibition," January 13–February 17, 1949, no. 15.
  • New York. Museum of Modern Art. "Paintings from Private Collections: A 25th Anniversary Exhibition," May 31–September 5, 1955, no. 2 (as "Old Actress," lent by Mr.and Mrs. Jean Mauzé).
  • New York. Knoedler Galleries. "A Family Exhibit," April 6–25, 1959, no. 1 (lent by Mr. and Mrs. Jean Mauzé).
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. "Max Beckmann," October 1–November 15, 1964, no. 23 (as "Old Actress," lent by Mr. and Mrs. Jean Mauzé, New York).
  • Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Max Beckmann," December 14, 1964–January 31, 1965, no. 23.
  • Art Institute of Chicago. "Max Beckmann," March 12–April 11, 1965, no. 23.
  • Hamburg. Kunstverein. "Max Beckmann," May 10–July 4, 1965, no. 23.
  • Frankfurt. Kunstverein. "Max Beckmann," July 15–September 9, 1965, no. 23.
  • London. Tate Gallery. "Max Beckmann," September 25–November 8, 1965, no. 23.
  • Buenos Aires. Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. "de Cézanne a Miró," May 15–June 5, 1968, unnumbered cat. (p. 51; as "La vieja actriz," lent by Mr. and Mrs. Jean Mauzé, New York).
  • Santiago. Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de la Universidad de Chile. "de Cézanne a Miró," June 26–July 17, 1968, unnumbered cat.
  • Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas. "de Cézanne a Miró," August 4–25, 1968, unnumbered cat.
  • Frankfurt. Städtische Galerie im Städelschen Kunstinstitut. "Max Beckmann: Frankfurt 1915–1933," November 18, 1983–February 12, 1984, no. 44 (as "Bildnis einer alten Schauspielerin," lent by William Kelly Simpson, USA).
  • Haus der Kunst, Munich. "Max Beckmann: Retrospective," February 25–April 23, 1984, no. 44 (as "Portrait of an Old Actress," lent by William Kelly Simpson, New York).
  • Nationalgalerie Berlin. "Max Beckmann: Retrospective," May 18–July 29, 1984, no. 44.
  • Saint Louis Art Museum. "Max Beckmann: Retrospective," September 7–November 4, 1984, no. 44.
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Max Beckmann: Retrospective," December 9, 1984–February 3, 1985, no. 44.
  • New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s," November 14, 2006–February 19, 2007, no. 27 (lent by William Kelly Simpson, New York).
  • New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Max Beckmann in New York," October 19, 2016–February 20, 2017, no. 9 (lent by a private collection, New York).

Bibliografia:

  • Carl Einstein. Die Kunst des 20.Jahrhunderts. Berlin, 1926, pp. 167, 566, ill. p. 466, calls it "Bildnis einer alten Schauspielerin" and locates it in the collection of the artist.
  • J[ulius]. Meier-Graefe. "Maler aus vier Ländern oder, Der Herr aus Mexiko." Frankfurter Zeitung(August 8, 1926), p. 2.
  • Max Beckmann. Letter to Reinhard Piper. June 11, 1926, published in Ref. Wiese 1994, p. 42 (letter 375).
  • Max Beckmann. Letters to Jsrael Ber Neumann. June 26, 1926 and December 4, 1930, published in Ref. Wiese 1994, pp. 49 (letter 382), 185 (letter 550).
  • Max Beckmann. Letters to Mathilde Beckmann. July 16 and 31, 1926, published in Ref. Wiese 1994, pp. 57 (letter 390), 59 (letter 393).
  • Max Beckmann. Letter to Ludwig Thormaehlen. July 17, 1926, published in Ref. Wiese 1994, p. 58 (letter 391).
  • Max Beckmann. Letters to Günther Franke. August 2 and October 1926, published in Ref. Wiese 1994, pp. 61 (letter 395), 72 (letter 409).
  • Georg Swarzenski. "Um Max Beckmann." Das Neue Frankfurt 1, no. 4 (1927), ill. p. 83, calls it "Dame mit Katze".
  • C. Adolph Glassgold. "Max Beckmann." Arts 11 (May 1927), pp. 242, 246, ill. p. 243, calls it "Old Actress" in the text and "Portrait of an Old Actress" in the caption.
  • "In New York Galleries: Beckmann's Art Portrays German Post-War Disillusion—Other Artists' Work." New York Times (April 17, 1927), p. X8.
  • J. B. Neumann. Letter to Max Beckmann. March 26, [1927], published in Ref. Harter and Wiese 2011, p. 143 (letter 59).
  • Max Beckmann. Letter to J. B. Neumann. October 10, 1927, published in Ref. Harter and Wiese 2011, p. 179 (letter 69).
  • Heinrich Simon. Max Beckmann. Berlin, 1930, pl. 11, calls it "Alte Schauspielerin" and locates it in the collection of J. B. Neumann, New York.
  • A[lfred[. H. B[arr]., Jr. German Painting and Sculpture. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 1931, pp. 19–20, no. 6, dates it 1923.
  • Julius Meier-Graefe. "The Contribution of Germany to European Art—Part IV." Creative Art 9 (July 1931), ill. p. 24, calls it "Portrait of an Old Actress" and locates it in the collection of Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
  • Philippe Soupault. "Max Beckmann." La Renaissance 14 (March 1931), ill. p. 96.
  • Carry Ross. "Deutsche Kunst in den Sammlungen New Yorks." Museum der Gegenwart 2, no. 1 (1931), pp. 11–12, ill.
  • Alfred H. Barr. "Die Wirkung der deutschen Ausstellung in New York." Museum der Gegenwart 2, no. 2 (1931), ill. p. 71 (installation photo, Exh. New York 1931).
  • Edward Alden Jewell. "Art in Review: Summer Exhibition at Museum of Modern Art Shows Evidence of Careful Planning." New York Times (June 7, 1932), p. 27.
  • C. J. Bulliet. Art Masterpieces in a Century of Progress Fine Arts Exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago, 1933, vol. 1, unpaginated, no. 35, ill.
  • "Among the Exhibitions." New York Times (June 23, 1935), p. X6, ill.
  • Edward Alden Jewell. "Modern Museum Augments Exhibit: Summer Show Adds Sculpture and Other Art Work to Its Current Display." New York Times (June 18, 1935), p. 19, notes that it was lent to Exh. New York 1935 by Mrs. David Milton [later Abigail Rockefeller Mauzé].
  • Perry T. Rathbone. Max Beckmann 1948. Exh. cat., City Art Museum of St. Louis. St. Louis, 1948, pp. 31–32, 95, no. 15.
  • Benno Reifenberg and Wilhelm Hausenstein. Max Beckmann. Munich, 1949, pp. 23, 70, no. 226, pl. 41.
  • Bernard S. Myers. The German Expressionists: A Generation in Revolt. New York, [1957], pp. 302, 304, fig. 231, lists it in the Irving H. Pardee collection, New York.
  • Aline B. Saarinen. A Family Exhibit. Exh. cat., Knoedler Galleries. [New York], 1959, pp. 4, 42, no. 1, ill. p. 7, states that it was inherited by Abigail Rockefeller Mauzé.
  • "Two New York Exhibitions." Arts 33 (April 1959), pp. 20–21, ill.
  • Hans Martin Frhr. von Erffa and Erhard Göpel, ed. Blick auf Beckmann: Dokumente und Vorträge. Munich, 1962, p. 242, state that this picture was owned by Julius Meier-Graefe.
  • Peter Selz. Max Beckmann. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. New York, [1964], pp. 42, 150, no. 23, ill. p. 45 (color).
  • Hilton Kramer. "The Place of Max Beckmann." Arts Magazine 39 (December 1964), p. 34, ill. p. 38 (color).
  • Alfred Werner. "Beckmann: Explorer of Life." American-German Review 31 (October–November 1964), ill. p. 27.
  • Monroe Wheeler. De Cézanne a Miró. Exh. cat., Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires. New York, 1968, p. 51, ill.
  • Erhard Göpel and Barbara Göpel, ed. Max Beckmann: Katalog der Gemälde. Vol. 1, Katalog und Dokumentation. Bern, 1976, pp. 185–86, 521, 540, no. 255, call it "Bildnis einer alten Schauspielerin".
  • Erhard Göpel and Barbara Göpel, ed. Max Beckmann: Katalog der Gemälde. Vol. 2, Tafeln und Bibliographie. Bern, 1976, pl. 92.
  • Fritz Erpel. Max Beckmann. Berlin, 1981, unpaginated, no. 10, ill.
  • Ingo Begall in Max Beckmann: Frankfurt 1915–1933. Ed. Klaus Gallwitz and Ingo Begall. Exh. cat., Städtische Galerie im Städelschen Kunstinstitut. Frankfurt am Main, 1983, pp. 120–21, no. 44, ill. (color).
  • Christian Lenz in Max Beckmann: Retrospective. Ed. Carla Schulz–Hoffmann and Judith C. Weiss. Exh. cat., Haus der Kunst, Munich. Saint Louis, 1984, p. 231, no. 44, ill. (color).
  • Michael Voggenauer. "Frankfurt: Max Beckmann." Burlington Magazine 126 (February 1984), p. 119.
  • Penny Bealle. "J. B. Neumann and the Introduction of Modern German Art to New York, 1923–1933." Archives of American Art Journal 29, no. 1/2 (1989), pp. 9–10, ill.
  • Penny Joy Bealle. "Obstacles and Advocates. Factors Influencing the Introduction of Modern Art from Germany to New York City, 1912–33: Major Promoters and Exhibitions." PhD diss., Cornell University, 1990, pp. 268, 270, 283, fig. 4.3, calls it "Portrait of an Old Actress".
  • Stephan von Wiese, ed. Max Beckmann Briefe. Vol. 2, 1925–1937. Munich, 1994, pp. 42, 49, 57–59, 61, 72, 185, 306, 313, 317, 321, 396–97, 411.
  • Sean Rainbird. "A Dangerous Passion: Max Beckmann's 'Aerial Acrobats'." Burlington Magazine145 (February 2003), p. 100 n. 21.
  • Sabine Rewald. Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2006, pp. 9, 112–14, 148, no. 27, ill. (color).
  • Ursula Harter and Stephan von Wiese, ed. Max Beckmann und J. B. Neumann: Der Künstler und sein Händler in Briefen und Dokumenten 1917–1950. Cologne, 2011, p. 128 n. 194, p. 129, p. 130 n. 198, p. 143, p. 178 n. 271, p. 179, p. 200 n. 308, p. 280 (ill. Beckmann's list of works), p. 317.
  • Sabine Rewald. Max Beckmann in New York. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2016, pp. 17, 68–69, 138 nn. 17, 18, no. 9, ill. (color).

(fonte: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY)