Max Beckmann was a German painter widely regarded as one of the major figures of the Expressionist and New Objectivity movements. In many of his paintings Beckmann melded reality with fantasy, producing a world in which strange women and immoral businessmen mingle with nightmarish creatures, as seen his work Bird’s Hell (1938). “I would meander through all the sewers of the world, through degradations and humiliations, in order to paint. I have to do this,” he once said. Born on February 12, 1884 in Leipzig, Germany, as a young man he studied the works of Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, and Peter Paul Rubens. Beckmann served as a medic during World War I, his distorted angles, cynical self-portraits, and depictions of the grotesque aspects of humanity are often attributed to the trauma of his war-time experience. In 1933, the Nazi government dismissed him from his teaching position at the Stadel Art School in Frankfurt, and in 1937, he and his wife fled to Amsterdam where they lived for the next decade. After World War II, he was offered a position to teach at Washington University in St. Louis, and so he and his wife moved to America. Beckmann taught in different cities, including at Mills College in the summer of 1950, before settling in New York, where he was appointed as a faculty member at the Brooklyn Museum Art School. The artist died on December 27, 1950 in New York, NY.