Beckmann, who is best known for his large allegorical paintings, was forced to leave Germany in 1937 after Hitler declared his work "degenerate." This drawing, which he created after relocating from Amsterdam to New York, presents a tense view of the relationship between the sexes. For Beckmann, acrobats and clowns were not merely subjects of entertainment. They symbolized the fate of man caught between comedy and tragedy.
Nightclub in New York
Pen and ink and watercolor on laid paper.
10 1/4 x 14 5/16 inches (26 x 36.3 cm)
Bequest of Fred Ebb.
Inscribed, signed and dated at lower right in brown pen and ink, " For Wally / From Beckmann / 4 Nov.47 / St Lo[uis]".
Walter Barker (1921-2004; gift from the artist, 1947); Catherine Viviano Gallery, Inc.; from which acquired by Fred Ebb, New York, in 1969.