Born in Leipzig on February 12, 1884, Beckmann spent his childhood Braunschweig and Pomerania. Between 1900 and 1903, he studied at the Art School in Weimar and moved in 1904 to Berlin. A major turning point in Beckmann's life was the First World War, in which he voluntarily in the medical service, but in 1915 he was dismissed after a nervous breakdown due to the awfulness of the experience. Beckmann moved to Frankfurt and expressed the dire war years on his paintings, which are characterized by hard contours, abrupt transitions and splintery forms such as "Night" (1918-19). Around 1923, Beckmann began to use brighter colors. His paintings started to revolve around theater, circuses, bar dances, variety, cabaret and fairs. In 1925, he received a professorship at the Städel art school in Frankfurt. In 1933, he went to Berlin and he began the first of nine powerful compositions: he called this triptych "Departure", describing emigration and the horrors of Nazism growing power. After the exhibition "Degenerate Art" was opened, Beckmann moved to Amsterdam, where he survived the war. In 1947, he migrated to the US and taught there since 1949 at the Brooklyn Museum Art School in New York. Beckmann died on December 27, 1950.