Max Beckmann’s painting The Dream, created in 1921, is a prime example of symbolic painting in the Cubism style. The congested composition of the artwork embodies the claustrophobia of domestic life and is reflective of Beckmann’s observations and deeply felt experience of the carnage of World War I.
The Dream features a drunken woman playing a damaged, stringless cello before a legless man on crutches, while an innocent blond girl holds a Pulcinello doll at the center. This piece is part of Beckmann’s most famous Expressionist paintings and symbolizes the troubled state of post-War Germany. Despite displacement during World War II, Beckmann remained productive and received a teaching position in St. Louis in 1947.
Although classified as an Expressionist artist, Beckmann rejected both the term and movement itself. He was also known for being more than just a painter but also dabbling in writing, sculpture, printmaking, drawing – making him one of Germany’s most diverse artists to date. Max Beckman became an established artist at a very young age with his primary focus not just about showcasing his work but communicating what he thought about societal issues through them – making it more evident how he was affected by Word War I as can be observed from The Dream painting alone.
Overall Max Beckman’s The Dream encapsulates more than just symbolism but also serves as commentary reflecting Germany after WWI- all done so brilliantly especially with its cubism aesthetics.