Frauenkopf mit Halskette (Female Head with Necklace)
Black pen and ink drawing over pencil on cream-coloured ribbed laid paper 28.3 x 23 cm Framed under glass. Signed, inscribed and dated 'Beckmann A. 44.' in black ink in Sütterlin script lower right. - Verso inscribed by Mathilde Beckmann "Amsterdam 11. April 1944". - Minimally browned, the margins slightly irregularly cut. - Verso with a pencil drawing of a female portrait head.
In 1937 Max Beckmann and his second wife Mathilde, nicknamed “Quappi”, emigrated to Amsterdam, where her sister Hedda Kaulbach had already been living for years, and they moved into a flat along the “Rokin”.
For health reasons - Beckmann caught pneumonia in March 1944 - and perhaps also for financial and technical reasons, the focus of Beckmann's work evidently shifted more from painting to the graphic medium. However, it is surely correct to assume that - in addition to his many autonomous drawings - he was also creating others in the context of paintings or series of prints.
Beckmann's journal entries from February to April contain multiple references to a female portrait that was apparently causing him some difficulties: “'Blonde Frau im Profil' begun” (7 February 1944), “'Blonde Dame mit grauem Capuchon' completed in one morning” (11 February), “Again 'Frau mit Kapott', now I think essential” (17 March), “'Comtesse Roquin' completed under difficult circumstances” (23 March), “'Madame Roquin' really outstanding, will remain like this” (10 April, cited in: Tagebücher 1940-1950, München/Wien 1979). The nickname for the painting mentioned here, which would later be called “Dame mit grauem Capuchon” (Göpel 657), is a humorous corruption of the Amsterdam address “Rokin”. According to Beckmann's friend Erhard Göpel, the portrait was done after a blonde girl whom Beckmann had seen in a pub (E. u. B. Göpel, Max Beckmann. Katalog der Gemälde, Bern 1976, vol. I, p. 395).
The authenticity has been confirmed by Christian Lenz, Max Beckmann Archive Munich, after presentation of the original. The work will be included in the catalogue raisonné of drawings by Max Beckmann by Stephan von Wiese and Hedda Finke, Berlin. We would like to thank them for kind information.
Private possession, the Netherlands