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Magdalena: Still Life with Nude (recto)

Max Pechstein, (1881–1955)

Creation date: 1912

Other Information

Medium and Support: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: Gift from the Estate of Vance E. Kondon and Liesbeth Giesberger.
Accession Number: 2011.126.a
Dimensions: 36 in. x 35 7/8 in. (91.44 cm x 91.12 cm)
Currently on view

Label Copy

Permanent Collection wall label:
Like his fellow members of the German Expressionist group Die Brücke, Max Pechstein was fascinated with the idea of an art that did not rest upon the European academic tradition. Trained as an architect rather than as a painter, Pechstein spent time in the ethnographic museums of Berlin and Dresden, where he studied the arts of Africa and the Pacific islands as a means of developing his own artistic language. He was also greatly influenced by French Post-Impressionism: his fascination with the art of the Pacific was seen through the filter of Paul Gauguin’s art, and this painting’s exotic elements—including what appears to be a Pacific wood carving– make an explicit link to Gauguin’s work. Similarly, the bright colors and flattened forms of this canvas resemble those used by Henri Matisse.

HUMAN BEAST exhibition label:
This canvas shows how greatly Pechstein, like his fellow members of Die Brücke, was influenced by Paul Gauguin. Composed in bright colors and flattened forms, the painting includes what appears to be a Pacific wood carving, making explicit the link to Gauguin’s work. In 1914, furthermore, Pechstein would travel to the Pacific island of Palau, again in emulation of Gauguin. Although actually painted in 1911-12, this canvas is so close to Gauguin’s Tahitian-period pictures that it was long thought to have been made after Pechstein’s return from Palau.
One of many double-sided paintings by Pechstein, the work is exhibited so that both sides can be seen, even though the landscape on the verso—one of Pechstein’s many scenes of nudes in a landscape —is turned 180 degrees. Examination of the canvas reveals that Pechstein painted the nude later and intended it to be the final, finished aspect of the work.
Last Updated: 10/4/2021


This object was included in the following exhibitions:

Early 20th Century German Art from the Vance E. Kondon Collection , 1/28/1984 - 3/11/1984

The Human Beast San Diego Museum of Art , 7/21/2012 - 11/11/2012

Selections of Modern Art The San Diego Museum of Art , 7/23/2013 - 11/3/2013

Expressionism in Germany and France: From Van Gogh to Kandinsky Los Angeles County Museum of Art , 6/8/2014 - 9/14/2014

Van Gogh to Kandinsky: Expressionism to Impressionism, 1900-1914 , 10/11/2014 - 1/25/2015

German Expressionism San Diego Museum of Art , 7/23/2016 - 00/00/00


This object has the following bibliographic references:

Timothy O. Benson and Peter Kropmanns. Expressionism in Germany and France: From Van Gogh to Kandinsky LACMA and Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Germany, 2014
Page Number: 206, Figure Number: 125

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