The Night (1918-19) by Max Beckmann

The Night - Max Beckmann - 1918

Artwork Information

TitleThe Night
ArtistMax Beckmann
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions52 3/8 x 601/4 in.
Art MovementExpressionism
Current LocationKunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Germany
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About The Night

“The Night,” an oil on canvas painting by Max Beckmann completed in 1918, is a seminal artwork of the Expressionist movement. Measuring 52 3/8 by 60 1/4 inches, it falls within the genre painting category, depicting scenes of everyday life. The artwork is currently housed at the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen in Düsseldorf, Germany.

The artwork captures a complex, chaotic scene fraught with emotional intensity and dramatic action. Various figures appear entangled in an ambiguous, nightmarish environment. Central to the composition is a group of individuals seemingly in the midst of physical struggle or confrontation. The use of dark and bold colors enhances the sense of tension and foreboding. Facial expressions and body language are exaggerated, typical of Expressionist works to evoke emotional reactions from the viewer.

Characters seem to emerge from or are engulfed by the shadows, adding to the atmosphere of anxiety and distress. Beckmann’s work is known for its commentary on the human condition, and “The Night” reflects the turmoil and psychological strain that was prevalent during the time it was created, particularly in the aftermath of World War I. The painting stands as a poignant reflection of the upheaval and suffering of the era.

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