Special exhibition: Max Beckmann

Käthe Anna Rapoport von Porada (Käthe Anna Magnus)

Drawing: Max Beckmann, Käthe von Porada
Max Beckmann: Käthe von Porada, 1924, pencil drawing
Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig, on permanent loan from a private collection, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Fotoabteilung, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015
Special exhibition: Max Beckmann

Käthe Anna Rapoport von Porada (Käthe Anna Magnus)

Bornon 2 December 1891 in Berlin, Germany
Diedon 1 May 1985 in Antibes, France
ExileFrance, Monaco

In the well-to-do home of the parents of Käthe von Porada, the likes of Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Gerhard Hauptmann and Arthur Schnitzler were frequent guests. As an adult, too, Porada had many friends and acquaintances in art and literature circles.

Among other things, it was her friendship with Irma and Heinrich Simon that moved her to settle in Frankfurt am Main following her divorce. At the Simons' Friday gatherings, she met famous contemporaries including the writers Thomas Mann and Rudolf Binding, the art historian Fritz Wichert and Max Beckmann.

Käthe von Porada wrote fashion pieces for the Frankfurter Zeitung.

In 1928 Käthe von Porada went to Paris, and when the Second World War broke out she found refuge with friends in Monte Carlo, where she stayed until 1946. After a brief return to Paris, she lived in Vence near Nice until her death.

Käthe von Porada may be regarded as one of the most important female figures in Beckmann's life. In times of persecution and exile, she was a dependable, loyal friend whom he immortalised in the painting Large Painting of Women (Five Women) from 1935.

Beckmann had known Käthe von Porada since the early 1920s. After the journalist settled in Paris in 1928, she became a mainstay of Beckmann's regular visits to Paris. She procured an apartment and studio for his semi-annual stays in the city. In 1937 Käthe von Porada helped the Beckmanns in preparing their move into exile in Amsterdam, which was all the more surprising since Porada, as a Jew, herself faced persecution by the Nazis.

The following year, she and Stephan Lackner staged an exhibition of Beckmann's works in Bern which was later shown in Winterthur, Zurich and Basel and whose exorbitant costs she largely bore herself. It was also her, again together with Stephan Lackner, who persuaded the painter to participate in the Twentieth Century German Art Show in London. When a planned Beckmann exhibition in the Paris gallery Alfred Poyet was cancelled for political reasons shortly before its opening, without further ado Porada exhibited watercolours by the painter in her private apartment. Beckmann demonstrated just how important his friend from the old days was to him by visiting her in Paris on his first trip abroad from his Amsterdam exile in early 1947.