Through June 22. Richard L. Feigen, 16 East 77th Street, Manhattan; 212-628-0700, rlfeigen.com.
With figurative painting ascendant, exhibitions of the great German painter Max Beckmann (1884-1950), are always inspiring; especially those that include rarely exhibited or reproduced works. Such is the case with “Max Beckmann: From Private Collections” at Richard L. Feigen, a selection of 18 paintings and drawings that celebrates the gallery’s relocation and its new partnership with the longtime private dealer Puppa Sayn-Wittgenstein Nottebohm.
New York in late January is a veritable marathon of Old Masters, from the big auctions at Christie's and Sotheby’s to smaller dealer shows. Especially notable is the exhibition of 22 late-15th-century panel paintings from Northern Europe and especially Germany -- made outside of the better-known centers in Italy and the Netherlands -- presented at Richard L. Feigen & Co. on East 69th Street by Sam Fogg, a leading London dealer of medieval manuscripts.
The case of the minor 18th-century portraitist who became the first major English landscape painter and revolutionized the approach of European masters to nature is one of those mysteries at the heart of art history that may never be explained.
Several years ago, at a panel of art academics, I witnessed an eye-opening event. Behind an array of dons were projected the images of two Picasso paintings—one, an abstract arrangement of colored shapes, the other, a figure. After a surfeit of deliberations on the circumstances of production, theories of sexuality, and the artist’s “gaze,” a student from the audience stood to make an observation.