Max Beckmann was a German painter and writer categorized as a representative of Expressionism - a term he rejected. He became associated with the New Objectivity movement that opposed the emotionalism of Expressionism.
Born in Leipzig, Beckmann (1884 -1950) was deeply interested in philosophy, literature and mysticism, which flowed into his work. Traumatic experiences as a medical orderly during World War I also impacted his art. He is best known for his numerous self-portraits he painted throughout his life. He is considered one of the most significant painters of the 20th century and was particularly successful during the Weimar Republic period. During World War II, the Nazis confiscated many of his works from German museums, deeming them "degenerate art." Beckmann himself lived in self-imposed exile in Amsterdam during the war, but which gave rise to powerful artworks. He later emigrated to the United States, where he taught art in St. Louis and Brooklyn.