Self-Portrait with Champagne Glass, Max Beckmann
Max Beckmann
Self-Portrait with Champagne Glass
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Max Beckmann

Self-Portrait with Champagne Glass, 1919

65.0 x 55.5 cm
Physical Description
Oil on canvas
Inventory Number
Acquired 2020 with the support of the Kulturstiftung der Länder as well as private Donors. Joint property with Städelscher Museums-Verein e.V., Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung and Federal Republic of Germany
On display, Special Exhibitions


About the Work

Self-Portrait with Champagne Glass is the third self-likeness Beckmann executed after World War I. Whereas he had previously portrayed himself as a medical orderly and as an artist in the studio, here he appears as an elegant dandy in a tuxedo at the bar of a nightclub. Beckmann was thus drawing on a richly traditional motif: depictions of jolly drinkers and revellers were especially popular in the Dutch and Flemish painting of the seventeenth century. This portrait, however, does not convey an impression of boisterous gaiety. The artist’s head resembles a skull, his skin has a greenish hue, shades of red and yellow shimmer in his eyes. His body crams itself into the constricted pictorial space with a cramped, almost contorted pose. A grotesque-looking character laughs in the background; in the mirror at the left, the same face laughs back like a menacing echo.

The period immediately following World War I was shaped by tremendous upheaval in politics and society. While wartime profiteers flaunted their wealth in nightclubs, cabarets and luxury hotels, countless others fell prey to poverty. Beckmann here adopts the ambiguous identity of the sickly bon viveur, trying to eke some enjoyment out of life in what is probably the bar of the Frankfurter Hof, where – according to contemporary witnesses – his drink of choice was champagne. It would come to be his classic role: that of the aloof bourgeois, the detached observer holding a mirror up to society. 

Audio & Video

  • 02:03
    Highlights im Städel
  • 02:06
    Focus on art history
  • Städels Beckmann / Beckmanns Städel. Die Jahre in Frankfurt
    Max Beckmann (1884–1950) ist wie kaum ein anderer Künstler mit dem Städel Museum und Frankfurt verbunden. Er verbrachte die längste und wichtigste Zeit seines Lebens in Frankfurt, schuf hier einen Großteil seiner zentralen Werke und entwickelte den für ihn charakteristischen Stil. Das Städel Museum befasst sich seit fast einem Jahrhundert intensiv mit dem Sammeln und der Erforschung seines Œuvres. In dem Film zur Ausstellung „Städels Beckmann / Beckmanns Städel. Die Jahre in Frankfurt“ gehen die Kuratoren der Frage nach wie sich die Sammlung Beckmanns am Städel entwickelte und wie er in Frankfurt zu seinem charakteristischen Stil fand. Mehr Infos zur Ausstellung "Städels Beckmann / Beckmanns Städel. Die Jahre in Frankfurt":

Work Data

Basic Information

Self-Portrait with Champagne Glass
Production Place
Period Produced
Object Type
Physical Description
Oil on canvas
Label at the Time of Manufacture
Signiert und datiert oben links: Beckmann / Frankfurt a/M / Sept. 19.
Work Catalogues
  • Göpel 203

Property and Acquisition

Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, gemeinsames Eigentum mit dem Städelschen Museums-Verein e.V., der Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung und der Bundesrepublik Deutschland
Picture Copyright
CC BY-SA 4.0 Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Acquired 2020 with the support of the Kulturstiftung der Länder as well as private Donors. Joint property with Städelscher Museums-Verein e.V., Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung and Federal Republic of Germany

Work Content

Motifs and References

Main Motif
Persons Shown
Associated Persons and Institutions



Städel Mixtape

Research and Discussion


Object History
Max Beckmann (1884-1950), Frankfurt am Main
Hermann Lange (1874-1942), Krefeld/Berlin, vor 1928
Dauerleihgabe aus Privatbesitz, Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, seit 2011
erworben mit Unterstützung der Kulturstiftung der Länder sowie privater Spenden, 2020 (gemeinsames Eigentum mit der Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung, der Bundesrepublik Deutschland und dem Städelschen Museums-Verein).


Since 2001, the Städel Museum has systematically been researching the provenance of all objects that were acquired during the National Socialist period, or that changed owners or could have changed owners during those years. The basis for this research is the “Washington Declaration”, also known as the “Washington Conference Principles”, formulated at the 1998 “Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets” and the subsequent “Joint Declaration”.

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Conservation and Restoration

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