The Waiter
  • Max Beckmann
  • Leipzig 1884 - 1950 New York
  • The Waiter, 1944
  • Pen and black ink over pencil,
  • on laid paper with borders irregularly cut
    on the verso: signed and dated with pen and ink
    Beckmann A. 44,
    and inscribed and dated with pencil by Mathilde Beckmann:
    der Kellner / 26. April 44. / A’dam
  • 268 × 114 mm
Sale with Onder de Boompjes, Leiden,
April 13, 2010, lot no. 189 (no. ill.)
(as unknown artist)

This sheet belonged to a group of four drawings by Beckmann from 1944, which were only recently rediscovered in the Netherlands. Beckmann had emigrated there in 1937, together with his second wife Mathilde, known as “Quappi” (Ohlstadt 1904 - 1986 Jacksonville), the youngest daughter of the painter Friedrich August von Kaulbach (see cat. nos. 64, 65). In exile, the atmosphere of cabarets, bars, and cafés retained the same attraction for Beckmann as it had in Germany, inspiring him with many different kinds of subject matter.

The eavesdropping couple in the drawing, the man in profile and his companion wearing a fashionable turban, recur in the background of a painting called Artists’ Café, also made in 1944 in Amsterdam. There, the seated patron with parted hair and moustache recalls as well the main figure in our drawing. The authenticity of the present drawing has been confirmed by Dr. Christian Lenz, director of the Beckmann archive in Munich, by the artist’s granddaughter Mayen Beckmann, as well as by Prof. Dr. Siegfried Gohr upon inspection of the original.