(b Leipzig, 12 Feb. 1884; d New York, 27 Dec. 1950). German painter and graphic artist, one of the most powerful and individual of Expressionist artists. Early in his career Beckmann painted in a conservative, more or less Impressionist, idiom, with which he made a good living, but his experiences as a medical orderly in the First World War completely changed his outlook and his style. Although he rarely depicted scenes from the war itself, his work became full of horrifying imagery, and his forms were expressively distorted in a manner that reflected the influence of German Gothic art. The combination of brutal realism and social criticism in his work led him to be classified for a time with artists of the Neue Sachlichkeit, but Beckmann differed from such artists as Dix and Grosz in his concern for allegory and symbolism and in his highly personal blend of the real and the visionary.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

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