Water Tower in Hermsdorf, Max Beckmann
Max Beckmann
Water Tower in Hermsdorf
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Max Beckmann

Water Tower in Hermsdorf, 1909

92.2 x 81.5 cm
Physical Description
Oil on canvas
Inventory Number
SG 476
Acquired in 1931
Not on display


About the Work

The unfinished tower stands majestically on a rise, surrounded by wooden scaffolding. The laths of the scaffolding reach upwards into the lively sky like the probing feelers of insects. The emerging structure rises above the dark pine trees on the left-hand edge of the picture, conjuring up associations with the biblical Tower of Babel, which was intended to reach up to heaven. This early work reveals the influence of the Impressionists and shows the water tower in Berlin-Hermsdorf, where the artist lived from 1907 with his first wife, Minna Beckmann-Tube.

Work Data

Basic Information

Water Tower in Hermsdorf
Period Produced
Object Type
Physical Description
Oil on canvas
Label at the Time of Manufacture
Bezeichnet und datiert oben rechts: HBSL 09.
Work Catalogues
  • Göpel 2021, Nr. 108

Property and Acquisition

Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Picture Copyright
© Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, Foto: U. Edelmann
Acquired in 1931

Work Content

Motifs and References

Main Motif
Associated Persons and Institutions
Associated Source
  • Bibel, Altes Testament, Genesis 11,1-9



Research and Discussion


Object History
Max Beckmann (1884-1950), Berlin
verkauft an Henry Bernhard Simms (1861-1922), Hamburg, ca. 1914
vererbt an Gertrud Simms (1873-1973), Hamburg, 1922
Verst. Kunstsalon Paul Cassirer/Hugo Helbing, Berlin, 14. November 1930, Nr. 4, unverkauft
Kunsthandlung Suther, Frankfurt
verkauft als Überweisung des Direktors Georg Swarzenski (1876-1957) an die Städtische Galerie, Frankfurt am Main. 1931.


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

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Conservation and Restoration

Art-technology findings and/or documentation regarding conservation and restoration are available for this work. If interested, please contact .

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