Ice on the River, Max Beckmann
Max Beckmann
Ice on the River
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Max Beckmann

Ice on the River, 1923


Dimensions
47.5 x 59.5 cm
Physical Description
Oil on canvas
Inventory Number
2169
Acquisition
Acquired in 1994 with funds provided by the Cultural Foundation of the German Federal States, the Marga und Kurt Möllgaard-Stiftung, and other donors; property of the Städelscher Museums-Verein e.V. Conclusion of a "goodwill agreement" in 2017 following a claim for restitution by the heirs of the first owners, Fritz and Hedwig Neuberger, funded by the Federal Republic of Germany's Commissioner for Culture and the Media based on a resolution of the German Bundestag.
Status
Not on display

Texts

About the Work

Beckmann painted several cityscapes during his time in Frankfurt. In this one, he portrayed the characteristic Main panorama on a quiet winter morning under a crescent moon. The view extends from the Untermain Bridge upstream to the Old Town with the Cathedral of Saint Bartholomew and the Iron Bridge; the Sachsenhausen bank is on the right. It is not an entirely faithful representation of reality. Beckmann painted the cathedral tower as it looked before the great fire of 1867. His main focus, however, was the river itself and the large sheets of ice floating on it. It lies between the two banks like a dark ribbon.

About the Acquisition

The painting was once in the collection of the Jewish textile manufacturer Fritz Neuberger (1877–1943), who purchased it from Beckmann in the 1920s. Neuberger and his wife Hedwig (1895–1943), both Jews, were persecuted, deported and, in 1943, murdered by the Nazis in the Majdanek extermination camp. Their only son managed to flee in May 1939; via the Netherlands and the United Kingdom he eventually made his way to the USA. With funds from the Cultural Foundation of the German Federal States, the Marga und Kurt Möllgaard-Stiftung and many private donors, the Städelscher Museums-Verein purchased the painting from a private collection in 1994, unaware of the fate of its original Jewish owners. In 2017, within the context of systematic provenance research efforts, the museum association came to a goodwill agreement with the heirs of the Neuberger family, making it possible for the work to remain in Frankfurt. Financial support for the endeavour came from the Federal Republic of Germany's Commissioner for Culture and the Media.

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    01:12
  • Focus on Frankfurt
    01:40

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Last update

14.05.2024