Der Ausrufer, from "Jahrmarkt", 1921 (published 1922)
Gift of Alfred and Ingrid Lenz Harrison in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts 2014.124.1
Not on View
In "Jahrmarkt" ("Annual Fair"), Max Beckmann imagines the world as a traveling carnival teeming with an eclectic cast of actors, dancers, and circus entertainers who perform in the theater of life. Beckmann casts himself as a carnival barker in the series’ opening plate, ringing a small bell to announce the show, and cajoling viewers to enter the Circus Beckmann, a curious realm of outsiders and misfits. Many of the protagonists are friends and acquaintances of the artist; he even includes his wife Minna in the series, who famously appears along with Beckmann balancing on a tightrope. As the scenes of the portfolio unfold, a pageant of players takes the stage: a tall man, a sharpshooter, a snake charmer, exotic dancers, musicians, and other circus entertainers perform in succession. In one plate from the series, Beckmann presents a carousal crowded with a diverse lot of humanity, an apt metaphor for the apparent aimlessness of life. The series was inspired in part by Beckmann’s visits to the Prater, a Viennese amusement park, where he observed the performers and visitors and sketched them from life. Justly celebrated for its incisive observations on the human condition, "Jahrmarkt" is a brilliant example of Beckmann’s mature graphic style and seminal publication of German Expressionism.
Image: In Copyright. Gift of Alfred and Ingrid Lenz Harrison in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts