The Synagogue in Frankfurt am Main, Max Beckmann
Max Beckmann
The Synagogue in Frankfurt am Main
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Max Beckmann

The Synagogue in Frankfurt am Main, 1919

89.8 x 140.4 cm
Physical Description
Oil on canvas
Inventory Number
SG 1239
Acquired in 1972 with means provided by the City of Frankfurt am Main and private Donors
On display, 1st upper level, Modern Art


About the Work

With buildings that sway to the point of toppling, an unsettling cityscape seems to devour a small group of people. They are Beckmann’s friends Ugi and Friedel Battenberg on their way home with the painter himself, dressed in black, after a night of celebrating carnival. On Frankfurt’s Börneplatz they pass the synagogue with its onion-shaped dome, the windows brightly lit for morning prayer. The imagery conveys a sense of threat in the post-1914–18 reality, a period of existential crisis for Beckmann.

About the Acquisition

The Synagogue in Frankfurt am Main forms the prelude to a series of cityscapes Max Beckmann painted during his formative years in Frankfurt from 1915 to 1933. The depiction of the house of worship, which was torched on 10 November 1938 – a work of significance for the artist and the city alike – entered the Städel Museum collection in 1972. It had been purchased with the support of the City of Frankfurt and funding from private donors, who had contributed within the framework of a public fundraising campaign carried out on the streets, for example at Hauptwache.


  • 01:01
    Basic information
  • 01:42
    Focus on Frankfurt
  • 01:57
    Focus on religion

Work Data

Basic Information

The Synagogue in Frankfurt am Main
Production Place
Period Produced
Object Type
Physical Description
Oil on canvas
Label at the Time of Manufacture
Signiert und datiert oben links: Beckmann 19.

Property and Acquisition

Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Picture Copyright
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020
Acquired in 1972 with means provided by the City of Frankfurt am Main and private Donors

Work Content



Research and Discussion


Object History
Max Beckmann (1884-1950), Frankfurt am Main
verkauft durch I.B. Neumann, Berlin an Paul Multhaupt (1884-1933), Düsseldorf
Günther Franke, München
Herbert Kurz (1892-1967), Meerane/Wiesbaden/Wolframs-Eschenbach, um 1936
Nachlass Herbert Kurz, 1967
Marta Kurz, München
verkauft an die Städtische Galerie, Frankfurt am Main, 1972.


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.

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  • the date on which it changed hands

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