Reclining Nude (1929) by Max Beckmann

Reclining Nude - Max Beckmann - 1929

Artwork Information

TitleReclining Nude
ArtistMax Beckmann
Dimensions123 x 86 cm
Art MovementExpressionism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About Reclining Nude

The artwork “Reclining Nude” is a creation of Max Beckmann, a prominent figure in the Expressionist movement. Completed in 1929, this oil painting on canvas measures 123 by 86 centimeters and falls within the genre of nude painting (nu). It is currently held in a private collection. The piece is characteristic of the Expressionist style, which is known for its bold use of color and gestural brushwork that conveys emotional resonance.

In the artwork, the viewer is presented with a nude figure reclining in an ambiguous space. Her pose is dynamic and complex, with her arms folded behind her head and one leg drawn up, suggesting a moment of relaxation or repose. Beckmann employs a palette that includes both naturalistic flesh tones and areas of stark contrast, with deep blacks and luminous whites contributing to a sense of depth and volume. The figure’s face is partially obscured by shadow and her hair, emphasizing the anonymity and universal quality of the subject. The background against which the figure reclines is simplified, but hints at an interior setting with architectural elements.

The brushwork is vigorous and tactile, giving the painting a sense of immediacy and physical presence. The contours of the figure are outlined with assertive lines that emphasize the form and add to the overall expressionistic quality of the piece. The treatment of the fabric upon which the figure reclines is particularly notable, as the folds are rendered with angular lines and planes of color, creating an almost geometric juxtaposition with the curves of the human form.

“Reclining Nude” is a testament to Beckmann’s exploration of the human condition through portraiture and figure painting, showcasing his ability to meld representational elements with the emotional and psychological undercurrents characteristic of Expressionism.

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