Max Beckmann - Kasbek
Etching on firm hand-made wove paper 49 x 21.2 cm (67.5 x 43.4/44 cm) Framed under glass. Signed and inscribed 'Probedruck' (trial proof) on the left. Trial proof in addition to the 2 known trial proofs aside from the edition of 30 prints. Presumably Verlag Graphisches Kabinett Günther Franke, Munich. - Very fine impression with strong burr and dark plate tone, partially scraped. The broad upper margin very slightly browned, very short tear in the upper and lower margin. - Very rare.
“Kasbek”, an inn named after a mountain in Georgia and frequented by Russian emigrants in the Berlin of the 1920s, provides the stage for a bizarre scene. Hildegard Melms (known as Naila) - Max Beckmann's oft-portrayed muse and lover as well as a doctor of social economics - is depicted together with an accordion player in an image that fills the sheet. The scene is invested with erotic energy through the fact that, apart from a folkloric-looking head covering, she is wearing only a bodice that reveals the tips of her breasts and long stockings, while a blindfold prevents the musician from being able to see. The facets of the stage and boudoir find themselves united, so to speak, joined together in this depiction of Beckmann's principal theme: Berlin's nightlife as Theatrum Mundi.
In the elaboration of degrees of brightness through scraping and concentration of tonal values, Beckmann's previously unknown and extremely rare trial proof reveals how this outstanding graphic artist worked.
List of works
Hofmaier 281 (this proof not mentioned)
We would like to thank Mayen Beckmann, Cologne, for scientific advice.