Adam and Eve

Max Beckmann (1884-1950), Adam and Eve

Year: 1917

Method: drypoint

Annotation: signed in pencil and numbered “17”

Reference: Hofmaier 110

State: Hofmaier’s third (definitive) state, edition Bc (of Bc)

Size: with full margins, 8 7/8 x 6 3/4, the sheet 17 3/8 x 13 5/8 inches

Paper: laid Van Zander paper, with their watermark and shield

Edition: The total edition was 50; no first state proofs are known, a few second state proofs are known.


A superb clear black impression of this astonishing composition, with the burr from the drypoint work vivid and effective.

Provenance: ex. Collection: St. Louis Art Museum, with their stamp verso. The Museum developed a close relationship with the artist after the War, when he taught in St. Louis (at the School of Fine Arts at Washington University). The Museum was given a number of very fine Beckmann prints by distinguished Beckmann collector/dealers I.B. Neumann and Allan Frumkin; in recent years these prints were de-accessioned.

Although some, including Hofmaier felt that Beckmann here shows Adam andEve after the Fall, it seemsmore probable that the moment represented is (as noted by Schulz Hoffman and Weiss) “just before the two have become aware of their own nakedness…the gesture of Eve offering her breast to Adam in a sexual interpretation of the apple.”