Lot 403
  • 403

Max Beckmann

450,000 - 650,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Max Beckmann
  • Brandung, Kleine Marine (Breakers, small Marine)
  • oil on canvas
  • 48.9 by 55.5cm., 19 by 21 7/8 in.


I.B. Neumann, New York (acquired from the artist's studio)
Bernard Raymond, New York
I.B. Neumann, New York (by 1930)
Günther Franke, Munich (until at least 1946)
Erika Huetlin, Munich (by 1959)
Christa Maul (née Franke), Munich (acquired in 1965)
Thence by descent to the present owner


Munich, Glaspalast, I. Allgemeine Kunstausstellung, 1926, no. 2016
New York, I.B. Neumann, Max Beckmann, Art lover, 1927, no. 12, illustrated in the catalogue
New York, S.P.R. Galleries, Modern German Art, 1930
Munich, Galerie Günther Franke, 1946, no. 70
Frankfurt, Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Max Beckmann, 1947, no. 14
Hannover, Kestner-Gesellschaft, Max Beckmann, 1949, no. 12
Stuttgart, Württembergische Staatsgalerie, Max Beckmann, Bilder der Sammlung Günther Franke, 1950-51
Munich, Galerie Günther Franke, 1951, no. 7
Essen, Museum Folkwang, Max Beckmann, Gemälde und Graphiken aus der Sammlung Günther Franke München, 1951, no. 8
Munich, Galerie Günther Franke & Berlin, Schloss Charlottenburg, Max Beckmann Werke der Frühzeit, 1951, no. 45
Freiburg, Kunstverein, Gemälde und Graphiken aus der Sammlung Günther Franke, München, Max Beckmann Mensch und Maler, 1952, no. 8
Zurich, Kunsthaus, Max Beckmann (1884-1950), 1955, no. 24
Basel, Kunsthalle, Ausstellung Max Beckmann, 1956, no. 20
Den Haag, Gemeente Museum, Max Beckmann, 1956, no. 17
Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum Kölnischer Kunstverein, Max Beckmann Gemälde Zeichnungen Graphik, Sammlung Günther Franke, 1959, no. 8, illustrated in the catalogue
Munich, Städtische Galerie, Sammlung Günther Franke, 1960, no. 15, illustrated in the catalogue
Lübeck, Museen für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte der Hansestadt, Max Beckmann, Sammlung Günther Franke, 1961, n.n.
Frankfurt, Städtische Galerie im Städelschen Kunstinstitut, Max Beckmann, Frankfurt 1915-1933, 1983-84, no. 47, illustrated in the catalogue
Hamburg, Hamburger Kunsthalle; Bielefeld, Kunsthalle Bielefeld & Vienna, Kunstforum Wien, Max Beckmann, Landschaft als Fremde, 1998-99, no. 15, illustrated in the catalogue
Basel, Kunstmuseum, Max Beckmann, Die Landschaften, 2011, no. 15, illustrated in the catalogue


Heinrich Simon, Max Beckmann, Berlin, 1930, illustrated fig. 9
Philippe Soupault, 'Max Beckmann' in La Renaissance de l’art français, 1931, illustrated p. 100
Lothar-Günther Buchheim, Max Beckmann, Feldafing, 1959, no. 26, illustrated n.p. (dated 1925)
Erhard Göpel & Barbara Göpel, Max Beckmann, Katalog der Gemälde, Bern, 1976, vol. I, no. 252, p. 183, illustrated vol. II, pl. 90 (dated 1926)

Catalogue Note

Brandung, Kleine Marine, painted in 1925-26 is an exceptional work from the artist's formative years in Frankfurt. As one of the leading artistic figures working in Germany during the 1920s, Beckmann became a figurehead for the Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) movement which sought to explore aspects of modern life in the wake of the First World War. This New Objectivity with which Beckmann approached his art is manifest in this masterfully composed seascape, rich with his personal mythological signifiers. The coastal landscape is one of the recurring motifs of his career. Painting seascapes gave solace to Beckmann, and it is not surprising that he would turn to this subject at such an unsettling moment in his life. The position of the wave breakers in the foreground draws the viewer’s eye towards the horizon and into the open expanse of the sea, inviting him to become one with the elements. Two steamers provide focal points along the horizon with blurred whiffs of smoke. At the same time, the battle between the wave breakers and the sea introduces a dramatic and existential depth to this composition, which marks a stark contrast to his early seascapes that tended to focus on the wide expanse of water and the rhythmical movement of the waves. Following the First World War, this battle of the elements re-appears repeatedly in Beckmann’s oeuvre. The technique of clearly outlined objects and elements as well as the muted palette create a dream-like setting which also recalls the Pittura Metafisica of Giorgio de Chirico. Beckmann travelled to Italy repeatedly during the 1920s and would have been familiar with de Chirico’s work. However, the kinetic energy of the crashing waves introduces an aspect of motion that clearly sets this painting apart from the characteristic static effects of de Chirico’s work. 

Beckmann’s personal struggle is offset by his artistic breakthrough. During the 1920s numerous exhibitions of his work were being held all over Europe, the first extensive monography of his œuvre was released in 1924, and from 1925, Beckmann earned the teaching position at the Frankfurt Städelschule. In 1921, Beckmann signed an exclusive deal with the dealer Israel Ber Neumann. When Neumann emigrated to New York in 1923, he left Günther Franke in charge, who soon became an important dealer of German Expressionism in his own right.

The present work remained in the collection of Günther Franke and his family up to the present day and has been widely exhibited.