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, room 9


About the Work

Its buildings lurching and swaying, the unsettled townscape seems almost to devour a small group of people. It is the painter himself, dressed in black, and his friends Ugi and Fridel Battenberg on their way home from a night out celebrating Carnival. They are passing the synagogue with its onion-shaped dome on Frankfurt’s Börneplatz square. The windows are brightly lit: morning prayers are in progress inside. The scene symbolizes the threatening circumstances of the period following World War I, which for Beckmann himself was one of existential crisis. The Synagogue in Frankfurt am Main was the first of a series of cityscapes he painted in Frankfurt between 1915 and 1933.

About the Acquisition

A depiction of a house of worship that would be set on fire during the November Pogrom of 1938, the painting would later prove to be as important to the city as it was to the artist. It entered the Städel Museum collection in 1972, having been purchased with municipal support and funds from private donors. Public street collections – for example at Hauptwache – had given the local citizens opportunities to contribute.


  • Basic information
  • Focus on Frankfurt
  • Focus on religion

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