Art/ Collection/ Art Object


Max Beckmann (German, Leipzig 1884–1950 New York)
Oil on canvas
Overall: 69 x 125 1/2 in. (175.3 x 318.8 cm); left (a): 65 × 33 1/2 in. (165.1 × 85.1 cm); center (b): 69 × 59 in. (175.3 × 149.9 cm); right (c): 65 × 33 1/2 in. (165.1 × 85.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Bequest of Miss Adelaide Milton de Groot (1876-1967), 1967
Accession Number:
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Not on view
As a child growing up in Leipzig, Germany, Beckmann was especially fond of illustrating imaginative journeys. In Beginning, Beckmann looks back to his childhood with fondness and humor. Completed in 1949 when the artist was sixty-five years old, the panels are autobiographical. Beckmann’s memories of his schooldays in Germany are balanced by a dream fantasy on the right and left panels, respectively. In the central panel, childhood memories and dreamworlds intermingle. Deeply impacted by both World Wars and his exile from Germany, Beckmann’s work typically integrates tragic themes with expressionistic brushwork and bright colors.
Inscription: Signed and dated (right panel, lower right): Beckmann/ St L. 49
[Buchholz Gallery, New York, from 1949]; Adelaide Milton de Groot, New York (by 1950–d. 1967; her bequest to MMA)

New York. Buchholz Gallery. "Max Beckmann: Recent Work," October 18–November 5, 1949, no. 22.

Hartford, Conn. Wadsworth Atheneum. "Adelaide Milton de Groot Loan Collection," January 10–February 12, 1950, unnum. checklist.

Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts. "Masterpieces from the Adelaide Milton de Groot Collection," December 2, 1958–March 1, 1959, no. 1.

Paris. Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou. "Max Beckmann," September 25–October 28, 1968, no. 100.

Haus der Kunst, Munich. "Max Beckmann," November 9, 1968–January 6, 1969, no. 96.

Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels. "Max Beckmann," January 16–March 2, 1969, no. 96.

Washington, D.C. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution. "The Golden Door: Artist-Immigrants of America, 1876–1976," May 20–October 20, 1976, no. 179.

London. Whitechapel Art Gallery. "Max Beckmann: Triptychs," November 12, 1980–January 11, 1981, unnumbered cat. (pl. 8).

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. "Max Beckmann: Triptychs," January 22–March 8, 1981, unnumbered cat. (pl. 8).

Frankfurt. Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie. "Max Beckmann, die Triptychen im Städel," April 9–June 21, 1981, unnumbered cat. (p. 50).

Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale. "Max Beckmann," April 6–May 1, 1983, no. 31.

Haus der Kunst, Munich. "Max Beckmann Retrospective," February 25–April 23, 1984, unnumbered cat. (pp. 310–12).

Nationalgalerie Berlin. "Max Beckmann Retrospective," May 18–July 29, 1984, unnumbered cat.

Saint Louis Art Museum. "Max Beckmann Retrospective," September 7–November 4, 1984, unnumbered cat.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Max Beckmann Retrospective," December 9, 1984–February 3, 1985, unnumbered cat.

Canberra. Australian National Gallery. "20th Century Masters from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," March 1–April 27, 1986, unnumbered cat. (p. 69).

Brisbane. Queensland Art Gallery. "20th Century Masters from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," May 7–July 1, 1986, unnumbered cat.

New York. Guggenheim Museum Soho. "Max Beckmann in Exile," October 9, 1996–January 5, 1997, no. 19.

Paris. Centre Pompidou, Galerie I. "Max Beckmann, un peintre dans l'histoire," September 10, 2002–January 7, 2003, no. 84.

MoMA QNS. "Max Beckmann," June 26–September 29, 2003, no. 84.

Kunstmuseum Stuttgart. "Drei: Das Triptychon in der Moderne," February 7–June 14, 2009, unnumbered cat.

Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie. "Beckmann and America," October 7, 2011–January 8, 2012, no. 68 (as "The Beginning").

Benno Reifenberg and Wilhelm Hausenstein. Max Beckmann. Munich, 1949, p. 82, no. 656, as in the collection of the artist, New York.

Dorothy Seckler. "Reviews and Previews." Art News 47 (November 1949), p. 52.

Emily Genauer. "Beckmann's Harnessed Power." Art Digest 24 (November 1949), p. 13.

C[harles]. C. C[unningham]. "Adelaide Milton de Groot Loan Collection." Wadsworth Atheneum Bulletin no. 13 (January 1950), p. 1, ill.

Perry T. Rathbone. Max Beckmann. Exh. cat., Buchholz Gallery. New York, 1951.

Hans Vollmer. Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler des XX.Jahrhunderts. Leipzig, 1953, vol. 1, p. 151.

Charles S. Kessler. Max Beckmann's Triptychs. Cambridge, Mass., 1970, pp. 77–86, ill. opp. p. 77 (color).

Erhard and Barbara Göpel. Max Beckmann: Katalog der Gemälde. Bern, 1976, vol. 1, p. 477, no. 789; vol. 2, pls. 292–294.

Greta Berman and Jeffrey Wechsler. Realism and Realities: The Other Side of American Painting, 1940–1960. Exh. cat., Rutgers University Art Gallery. New Brunswick, N. J., 1981, p. 72, no. 85, ill.

Klaus Gallwitz, ed. Max Beckmann, die Triptychen im Städel. Exh. cat., Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie. Frankfurt, 1981, pp. 51, 79, 98–101, ill. p. 50 (color).

Fritz Erpel. Max Beckmann Leben im Werk Die Selbstbildnisse. Munich, 1985, p. 373, ill. p. 295 (center panel).

Kay Larson. "The Met Goes Modern: Bill Lieberman's Brave New Wing." New York Magazine 19 (December 15, 1986), p. 47, ill. p. 44 (color).

William S. Lieberman in 20th Century Art: Selections from the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Vol. 2, Painting: 1945–1985. New York, 1986, pp. 6, 8, 18–19, ill. (color, overall and detail).

Gary Tinterow et al. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 8, Modern Europe. New York, 1987, p. 141, colorpl. 118.

Kathleen Howard, ed. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. 2nd ed. (1st ed., 1983). New York, 1994, pp. 443, no. 22, ill. (color).

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. New York, 2012, p. 415, ill. (color).

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