Portrait of the family Lütjens
This family portrait was made in Amsterdam towards the end of the Second World War. It was painted by the German artist Max Beckmann in the studio at his home in Rokin. Beckmann had ﬂed to the Netherlands in 1937, after the Nazis condemned his work as degenerate (entartete Kunst) and banned him from exhibiting it in Germany. Beckmann led a solitary and difﬁcult life in Amsterdam, but it was also a fruitful period in his career. In the ten years he spent there, he produced one third of his entire oeuvre. His anchor and refuge during that time was Helmuth Lütjens, director of the Dutch branch of the German art ﬁrm Paul Cassirer. Beckmann portrayed Lütjens with his wife Nelly and their eighteen-month-old daughter Annemarie. They family is shown in the kitchen of the art gallery on Keizersgracht, which was also the space in which they lived. The painting, however, was executed in Beckmann’s studio. Beckmann worked from the quick pencil sketches he had made, not only of the adults but, in particular, of Annemarie. Lütjens saw the work only once it was ﬁnished. He was deeply moved and bought it on the spot.
Audio & Video