- Gallery Text
Following his dismissal from his teaching position in Frankfurt by the National Socialists in 1933, Beckmann relocated to Berlin, where he hoped to continue his work in the anonymity of the capital. The following year, at the age of fifty, the renowned painter began to sculpt in clay and plaster — an extension of his interest in representing space and volume on a canvas’s two-dimensional surface. In a subtle reference to his own artistic process, Beckmann here combines the biblical creation story (Adam, himself formed from a lump of clay by his maker, clutches an embryonic Eve to his chest) with that of the fall of man, evoked by the snake that entwines the figure.
The last sculpture Beckmann made in Berlin before he immigrated to Amsterdam, and one of only eight in his oeuvre, Adam and Eve was never actually cast by the artist. Instead, it was posthumously produced in bronze in an edition of five by his estate. Its kneaded, uneven surface suggests that the formation of the human figure from clay is the ultimate creative act.
- Identification and Creation
- Object Number
Max Beckmann, German (Leipzig, Germany 1884 - 1950 New York, N.Y., USA)
- Adam and Eve
- Other Titles
- Original Language Title: Adam und Eva
- Work Type
- 1936 (cast c. 1959)
Level 3, Room 3610, University Teaching Gallery
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- Physical Descriptions
- 83.3 x 35 x 36 cm (32 13/16 x 13 3/4 x 14 3/16 in.)
- Beckmann estate; [Alpha Gallery, Boston], sold; to Mr. and Mrs. Irving Rabb (1969-1976), gift; to the Busch-Reisinger Museum, 1976.
Date of sale per phone conversation with Alpha Gallery August 2010.
- Acquisition and Rights
- Credit Line
- Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Irving Rabb
- © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
- Accession Year
- Object Number
- Modern and Contemporary Art
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- Publication History
Charles Werner Haxthausen, The Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University, Abbeville Press (New York, NY, 1980), p. 69, repr. pp. 68-69
Kristin A. Mortimer and William G. Klingelhofer, Harvard University Art Museums: A Guide to the Collections, Harvard University Art Museums and Abbeville Press (Cambridge and New York, 1986), no. 358, p. 302, repr.
Peter Nisbet and Emilie Norris, Busch-Reisinger Museum: History and Holdings, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1991), p. 73, ill.
Peter Nisbet and Joseph Koerner, The Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, ed. Peter Nisbet, Harvard University Art Museums and Scala Publishers Ltd. (Cambridge, MA and London, England, 2007), p. 80
- Exhibition History
Works from the 20th Century Collection of the Busch-Reisinger, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 06/15/1980 - 09/01/1980; Wildenstein Gallery, New York, New York, 09/23/1980 - 10/24/1980
Deutsche Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts aus dem Busch-Reisinger Museum, Stadtische Galerie im Stadelschen Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt, 10/23/1982 - 01/16/1983; Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 30, 02/10/1983 - 04/17/1983; Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, 05/08/1983 - 06/26/1983
Making Myth Modern: Primordial Themes in German 20th-Century Sculpture, Harvard University Art Museums, Busch-Reisinger Museum, 07/14/2007 - 12/30/2007
32Q: 1510 Busch Winter garden, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/01/2014 - 07/31/2018
Private Practice, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 10/27/2015 - 01/12/2016
Adam and Eve, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/01/2018 - 01/06/2019
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