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University of Iowa News Release


March 26, 2008

Image: Max Beckmann, "Karneval" (Carnival Triptych), 1943, oil on canvas

UI Art Museum exhibition celebrates the return of Beckmann painting

Nearly 50 key works from the University of Iowa Museum of Art (UIMA) permanent collection, including "Carnival," the famed 1943 Max Beckmann painting that was out on loan for more than a year, will be on display beginning April 12 for the special exhibition "European and American Art from the Collection."

The North Gallery exhibition celebrates the return of the Beckmann work from showings at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich from early 2007 through January 2008. The triptych was a focal work in the exhibition "Max Beckmann in Amsterdam."

"Carnival," a large-scale, three-panel work, symbolizes the three ages of man and examines the story of Adam and Eve through the lens of World War II and the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. It is one of nine completed triptychs by Beckmann, a German artist who was relegated to the status of "degenerate" artist by Hitler and forced to live as an outcast in Amsterdam during the time he painted "Carnival."

"Beckmann's triptych paintings are considered his most important works, and 'Carnival,' which was selected by the faculty of the UI School of Art and Art History for purchase by the university in 1946, is considered one of the most significant triptychs," UIMA curator of European and American Art Kathleen Edwards said. "The museum was pleased to lend this work as a part of the first major retrospective of Beckmann's Amsterdam work, and now we are happy to welcome it home."

"European and American Art from the Collection" will also feature the UIMA's three Philip Guston paintings "The Young Mother "(1944), "Edge" (1960) and "Ramp" (1979). Guston taught at the UI for four years beginning in the fall of 1941. These works, which will be installed as a group, represent three distinct periods in the artist's oeuvre, including the mid-1940s social realism style he practiced during his time at the UI.

"Presenting these three works together offers visitors a unique opportunity to view the clear progression of this important artist's style," Edwards said.

Other significant works in the exhibition are Grant Wood's "Plaid Sweater" (1931), Pablo Picasso's "Flower Vase on a Table" (1942), Joan Miró's "A Drop of Dew Falling from the Wing of a Bird Awakens Rosalie Asleep in the Shade of a Cobweb" (1939), Marc Chagall's "The Blue Horse" (1926-28), Hartley Marsden's "E" (1915) and Henri Matisse's "Blue Interior with Two Girls" (1947).

This show of works from the permanent collection is the first step in the UIMA plan to completely reinstall its permanent collection after all but two galleries of work were removed to storage to prepare for "VOOM PORTRAITS: Robert Wilson," a high-definition video portrait exhibition that broke UIMA attendance records for a contemporary art exhibition.

A complete reinstallation of the permanent collection, including Jackson Pollock's "Mural" (1943) and Robert Motherwell's "Elegy to the Spanish Republic, No.126" (1965-75), will open in late August. The reinstallation will also feature modified displays of the African Art and Ancient American Art collections.

The UI Museum of Art is located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City. Regularly scheduled museum hours are noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, and noon to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Admission is free. See

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PHOTOS: A photo of Beckman's "Carnival" has been posted at Other photos from "European and American Art from the Collection" are available from the UIMA. For high-resolution images, please contact Maggie Anderson, 319-335-1731,

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Maggie Anderson, UIMA, 319-335-1731,; Peter Alexander, Arts Center Relations, 319-384-0072 (office), 319-541-2846 (cell),