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Catalogue raisonné

First online Max Beckmann catalogue raisonné to go live tomorrow as artist's work enters public domain

Hamburg’s Kunsthalle to publish photographs of 843 paintings for free research tool

Max Beckmann's Self-Portrait Florence was the most expensive acquisition Hamburg Kunsthalle ever made. © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020 © Hamburger Kunsthalle / bpk Photo: Elke Walford

The first online catalogue raisonné devoted to the German artist Max Beckmann will go live tomorrow with photographs of 843 paintings.

Beckmann died just over 70 years ago on 27 December 1950 meaning his work entered the public domain at the end of last year. The new platform, accessible from 3 pm on 15 January, is free to use and caters to the public and Beckmann scholars, according to a statement released by the Hamburg Kunsthalle.

In addition to images, the site includes data on more than 5,000 publications and 1,350 exhibitions as well as information about archives, auctions and institutions. The art historian Anja Tiedemann has worked for five years on the catalogue, which is funded by the Kaldewei Stiftung, a private foundation devoted to promoting German Expressionism. From mid-February, the catalogue will also be available as a double-volumed book containing large images and excerpts from the diaries of Beckmann and his wife Mathilde.

Max Beckmann, Messingstadt (1944) is included in Max Beckmann: Feminine-Masculine until 14 March © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020 © Saarlandmuseum – Moderne Galerie, Saarbrücken, Stiftung Saarländischer Kulturbesitz Photo: Tom Gundelwein

The Kaldewei foundation has funded a permanent post at the Hamburg Kunsthalle to update and develop the Beckmann catalogue raisonné and granted further funding for Beckmann research. The Kunsthalle says it has founded a “Beckmann Forum” at the museum to encourage international exchange between museums, archives, universities and experts.

The Hamburg Kunsthalle possesses 21 Beckmann oil paintings, the third-biggest collection in the world. Supported by several foundations, it purchased a 1907 painting, Self-Portrait Florence, in December for €4m from the Beckmann family estate—the most expensive acquisition the museum has ever made.

In September last year, the Kunsthalle opened an exhibition called Max Beckmann: Feminine-Masculine, exploring contradictory gender roles in the artist’s work and their historical significance and contemporary relevance. Though currently closed because of the pandemic, the show will reopen as soon as the restrictions are lifted and it is extended until 14 March.