The Circus Carriage, Max Beckmann
Max Beckmann
The Circus Carriage
Back to top

Max Beckmann

The Circus Carriage, 1940

86.3 x 118.5 cm
Physical Description
Oil on canvas
Inventory Number
SG 1127
Acquired in 1951
Not on display


About the Work

Like the two tigers locked up in the cage, various circus characters are crowded into the confined space of a circus artist’s caravan. The sinister face at the centre bears Beckmann’s own features. Stretched out before him, by way of protection, is a fortune teller, whose gaze rests on a dwarfish figure holding a lantern. To the left, an acrobat attempts to flee through a rooflight into the black night. The animal tamer holds his whip upright in the pose of a guard. The scene mirrors the painter’s oppressive situation in the isolation of his Dutch exile.


  • 01:06
    Basic information
  • 02:20
    Focus on art history

Work Data

Basic Information

The Circus Carriage
Production Place
Period Produced
Object Type
Physical Description
Oil on canvas
Label at the Time of Manufacture
Signiert und datiert unten rechts: Beckmann A 40

Property and Acquisition

Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Picture Copyright
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020, Foto: U. Edelmann
Acquired in 1951

Work Content

Motifs and References

Main Motif
Persons Shown
Associated Persons and Institutions


  • 43A36 circus
  • 41AA192 caravan (trailer) - AA - civic architecture: inside
  • 61B2(BECKMANN,Max)11(+51) historical person (BECKMANN,Max) - historical person (BECKMANN,Max) portrayed alone (+ head (BECKMANN,Max) (BECKMANN,Max))
  • 48B3 portrait, self-portrait of artist
  • 31A235 sitting figure
  • 31AA2364 lying on one side, with uplifted upper part of the body and leaning on the arm - AA - female human figure
  • 31A231 standing figure
  • 31A2723 climbing

Research and Discussion


Object History
Max Beckmann (1884-1950), Amsterdam
Galerie Günther Franke, München, 1941
verkauft an die Städtische Galerie, Frankfurt am Main, April 1951.


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”.

The provenance information is based on the sources researched at the time they were published digitally. However, this information can change at any time when new sources are discovered. Provenance research is therefore a continuous process and one that is updated at regular intervals.

Ideally, the provenance information documents an object’s origins from the time it was created until the date when it found its way into the collection. It contains the following details, provided they are known:

  • the type of acquisition and/or the way the object changed hands
  • the owner's name and place of residence
  • the date on which it changed hands

The successive ownership records are separated from each other by a semicolon.

Gaps in the record of a provenance are indicated by the placeholder “…”. Unsupported information is listed in square brackets.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact the museum at .

Similar works

  • All
  • Motif
  • Picture Elements
  • Association
  • Atmosphere
  • Emotion

More to discover



Do you have any suggestions, questions or information about this work?

Last update