Translated by Antonius Bittmann

In 1917, a year after the composer’s death, Max Beckmann, then thirty‐three years old, painted a portrait of Max Reger. The oil painting (Fig. 1), which is now in the possession of the Zurich Kunsthaus, exhibits the same, often ruthless sharp depiction of character that is evident in Beckmann’s famous self-portraits.2 A massive, disproportionate body fills the canvas, nearly bursting the frame; an angular head rests lopsidedly on the body; out of the collar, which is obviously too narrow, bulges the fat, fleshy neck; as if combed with water, the hair sticks out above the large forehead. His wrinkles, his thick lips, the strained corners of his mouth, and, above all, his gaze behind the glasses, avoiding the eyes of the viewer, show an artist well aware of his exceedingly problematic existence. The stylish dark suit with vest and golden watch chain—worn only on...

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