Beckmann, who is best known for his large allegorical paintings, was forced to leave Germany in 1937 after Hitler declared his work "degenerate." This lively sketch, created while he lived in exile in Amsterdam, explores a prevalent theme in his work: the relationship between the sexes. The woman whose face dominates the composition is the subject of attention of two men, visible only in fragments. The graphic energy and the compact composition accentuate the tension of this scene of jealousy and seduction.
Woman with Cigarette
Graphite pencil on paper.
12 1/8 x 9 3/8 inches (30.7 x 23.9 cm)
Bequest of Fred Ebb.
Signed, lower right, in graphite pencil, with "B" monogram and dated "6.8.46"; inscribed at lower center, in graphite pencil, "Frau m. Zigarette / Woman with Zigarette" (sic).
Estate of the artist; Catherine Viviano, New York; from whom acquired by Fred Ebb, New York, in 1979.