German painter, Max Beckmann began his artistic career as a traditional painter before becoming a leading figure in the Expressionist movement. This change in approach occurred after his experience as a medical orderly during World War I. Although he rarely directly depicted the horrific scenes that he endured while in service, his work reflected the violent and painful tone of war.
In 1933, Beckmann was forced to resign from his teaching position at the Stadelsches Kunstinstitut in Frankfurt and moved to the Netherlands in 1937. During this period, he began the series of nine triptychs that took him the remainder of his life to complete. Beckmann spent the end of his life in the United States teaching in Washington and New York.