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self-portrait Max Pechstein

self-portrait Max Pechstein

I love this self-portrait of Max. It has such flair to it and the attitude is fabulous. This painting looks as fresh today as it did when it was painted in 1918.

Work! Ecstasy! Smash your brains! Chew, stuff yourself, gulp it down, mix it around! The bliss of giving birth! The crack of the brush, best of all as it stabs the canvas. 

Max Pechstein was born in Zwickau. His father was a craftsman who worked in a textile mill. Early contact with the art of Vincent Van Gogh stimulated Pechstein’s development toward expressionism. After studying art in Dresden, Pechstein met Erich Heckel and joined the art group Die Brücke in 1906. He was the only member to have formal art training. Later in Berlin, he helped to found the Neue Sezession and gained recognition for his decorative and colorful paintings that were lent from the ideas of Van Gogh, Matisse, and the Fauves. His paintings eventually became more primitive, incorporating thick black lines and angular figures.

Beginning in 1933, Pechstein was vilified by the Nazis because of his art. 326 of his paintings were removed from German museums. 16 of his works were displayed in the Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art) exhibition of 1937. During this time, Pechstein went into seclusion in rural Pomerania.

He was a prolific printmaker, producing 421 lithographs, 315 woodcuts and linocuts, and 165 intaglio prints, mostly etchings.

Pechstein was a professor at the Berlin Academy for ten years before his dismissal by the Nazis in 1933. He was reinstated in 1945, and subsequently won numerous titles and awards for his work.