“Gently propelled by mild folly, humanity skips from flower to flower” (diary entry, 27 June 1944). An empty glass, a closed book and a blossoming bouquet of mimosas, arranged on a white tablecloth, suggest a cheerful mood. But the mimosa is a flower that curls its leaves within seconds when it is touched, which is why it is used to symbolize people of a sensitive disposition. Adorning the cover of the book is the name of the Enlightenment philosopher Voltai[re]. Thus the still life can be seen as an allegory of a time of great political uncertainty, which Beckmann is endeavouring to face through his painting.
The Frankfurt businessman Dr. Kurt Möllgaard and his wife, Marga, began collecting modern art in 1945. From 1964 on they donated parts of their collection to the Städelscher Museums-Verein. Kurt Möllgaard commented on his activities: "In doing this, we have intentionally continued a tradition which is also cultivated to a considerable extent by those citizens of Frankfurt who had to leave their homes after 1933." In 1987 Kurt Möllgaard founded the Kurt und Marga Möllgaard-Stiftung, which remains active to this day.