Wednesday, November 3, 2010

"The Mill" and I

My relationship with The Mill, given life by Max Beckmann, may have begun long ago. I was struck on numerous occasions, wandering the galleries for hours with my student pass, by the starkness of the painting. The abundance of black seems superimposed on top of the flat fields of color, and the boldness of the composition spoke to my heart in ways I could not hope to see come to such a formal fruition. Our relationship is slowly deepening as the weeks pass and the initial excitement of the bond gives way to a strong desire to know more. I find myself not only content to gaze at The Mill as I have done before, but wanting to know more. More about Beckmann, more about the drives that may have led him to create this specific work. Think of it as a kind of extended family if you will, that, after marriage, you realize you may become closer to than you imagined. I find myself wanting to play cards with the legacy of Beckmann while we sip gin and tonics, vacationing with The Mill and who knows what other bits of the collection. In my mind, we bond in unexpected ways as the conversation turns to The Mill in its adolescence, wild as it surely was. The cage, the arms of the mill with trussed figures. What must have been the inspirations? As our shotgun wedding settles into what is perhaps contentment, I know I will find only more inspiration to delve into the emotional and compositional past of The Mill, surely deepening our connection as I do. -Topher Sappington

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