René Beeh

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
René Beeh
René Beeh, Portrait de l'artiste en turban.jpg
Self-portrait with a turban (around 1912)
BornJanuary 1886
Died23 January 1922(1922-01-23) (aged 35–36)
Strasbourg, France
Known forPaintings and drawings

René Beeh (German: [ˈʁɛne be:], January 1886 − 23 January 1922) was a German draughtsman and painter from Alsace.[1] He was held in high esteem by his contemporaries and called "the coming genius" (das kommende Genie) by art historian Wilhelm Hausenstein,[2] but with his having died prematurely, he has been mostly forgotten.[3]

Life and work[edit]

Beeh was taught in the Fine Arts School in Strasbourg from 1900 until 1905,[4] then in the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich (student number 2936, registered on 9 May 1905),[5] where his teachers were Peter Halm [de], Hugo von Habermann and Franz von Stuck.[3] In 1910, he travelled to French Algeria where he stayed until 1911,[6] before journeying through Italy and Provence.[7] In 1914, he published a selection of letters from Algeria along with sixty drawings, under the title M'Barka. Malerbriefe aus Algerien mit sechzig Zeichnungen.[8][9]

During the First World War, Beeh was drafted as a surveyor for the Imperial German Army on the Western Front in Belgium (on the Ypres Salient)[10][11] and Northern France;[12] some of his War drawings were published in the Munich review Zeit-Echo.[7] After the War, Beeh, suffering from depression, is thought to have destroyed much of his own work,[3] he died from a severe case of seasonal flu at the age of 36.[13]

Beeh was a member of the Neue Münchner Secession (New Munich Secession),[3] he was also friends with several members of the Strasbourg group of painters Groupe de Mai.[14][15]

In 1914, Beeh illustrated a book celebrating the centenary of Gottfried Keller,[16] and in 1919−1920, the novel Inferno by August Strindberg,[17][18] he also illustrated a 1918[19] edition of Jeremias Gotthelf's The Black Spider,[20] and he contributed to the periodical Münchner Blätter für Dichtung und Graphik ("Munich Journal for Poetry and Graphics") alongside Paul Klee, Heinrich Campendonk and Alfred Kubin.[21]

La Révolution[edit]

The artist's most ambitious surviving work is the large painting La Révolution ("The Revolution") (oil on canvas, 120.5 cm (47.4 in) x 156.5 cm (61.6 in), painted 1918–1919), an ominous depiction of the events of November 1918 in Strasbourg using solely tints and shades of ochre and brown. The painting shows a small group of men seen from very close who are grabbing rifles and seem ready to launch an assault; but instead of rushing forward towards the viewer, they are gazing at a figure in workwear, who sits motionless with an inscrutable expression; the action seems frozen and time appears suspended in the very moment where violence is breaking out.[22]


In 2008, the Musée historique in Haguenau organised an exhibition of his works, the first in France since his premature death, 86 years before;[3][14][23] the Musée d'art moderne et contemporain of Strasbourg owns 98 works (as of 1 January 2016) by Beeh: 54 prints, 36 drawings and 8 paintings, among which two self-portraits, a portrait of the artist's father and of the artist's sister, and La Révolution.[24] The Los Angeles County Museum of Art currently owns 83 works by the artist, drawings and prints,[25] and the Museum of Modern Art currently owns 27 works, also drawings and prints.[1]



  1. ^ a b "René Beeh German, 1886–1922". MoMA. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  2. ^ Otterbeck, Christoph (2007). Europa verlassen: Künstlerreisen am Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts. Cologne: Böhlau Verlag. p. 129. ISBN 978-3-412-00206-0.
  3. ^ a b c d e "RENE BEEH (German / 1886-1922)". Idbury Prints. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  4. ^ "René Beeh". Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  5. ^ "02936 René Beeh Eintritt: 09.05.1905 Fach: Zeichnen". Matrikeldatenbank - Akademie der Bildenden Künste München. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  6. ^ Otterbeck, Christoph (2007). Europa verlassen: Künstlerreisen am Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts. Cologne: Böhlau Verlag. p. 121. ISBN 978-3-412-00206-0.
  7. ^ a b "Tranchée". Haute école des arts du Rhin. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  8. ^ Otterbeck, Christoph (2007). Europa verlassen: Künstlerreisen am Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts. Cologne: Böhlau Verlag. p. 127. ISBN 978-3-412-00206-0.
  9. ^ "M'Barka; Malerbriefe aus Algerien. Mit sechzig Zeichungen". Hathi Trust Digital Library. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  10. ^ "A l'Est du nouveau ! Archéologie de la Grande Guerre en Alsace et en Lorraine" (PDF). Musée de Strasbourg. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 August 2016. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  11. ^ "Dead Scottish Soldiers on the Battlefield near Ypres". National Gallery of Art. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  12. ^ "Le Musée d'art moderne et contemporain de Strasbourg". 14−18 Mission centenaire. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  13. ^ "BEEH René". Fédération des sociétés d'histoire et d'archéologie d'Alsace. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  14. ^ a b "Expositions passés". Ville de Haguenau. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  15. ^ "René Beeh. Zeichnungen, Briefe, Bilder. Einleitungen von Wilhelm Hausenstein und Hans Haug". Zentrales Verzeichnis antiquarischer Bücher. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  16. ^ "Gottfried Keller-Bilderbuch. Zum Hundertsten Geburtstag Gottfried Kellers". MoMa. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  17. ^ "Projet pour Inferno de Strindberg, Sackgasse vers 1919". Musée d'art moderne et contemporain de Strasbourg. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  18. ^ "Strindberg: Inferno". LACMA. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  19. ^ "Die schwarze Spinne: Erzählung". Google Books. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  20. ^ "Die Schwarze Spinne / Erzählung von Jeremias Gotthelf; mit dreissig Zeichnungen von Rene Beeh". LACMA. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  21. ^ "Münchner Blätter für Dichtung und Graphik, vol. 1, nos. 1-11/12". MoMa. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  22. ^ Les collections du musée d'art moderne et contemporain de Strasbourg. Strasbourg: Éditions des musées de la ville de Strasbourg. 2008. p. 98. ISBN 978-2-901833-82-6.
  23. ^ Haby, Florian (7 August 2008). "René Beeh réhabilité". Les Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  24. ^ "BEEH René". Musée d'art moderne et contemporain de Strasbourg. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  25. ^ "René Beeh". LACMA. Retrieved 16 March 2017.