Max Beckmann's Dutch exile shown in Amsterdam exhibit

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In 1937, when Max Beckmann was 53 years old and already well-known, the Nazis who banned his work were forced to remove 590 of his works from the walls of German museums.
That same year the Nazis had mounted their now-infamous Munich exhibition of Degenerate Art, a collection of modernist artworks chaotically hung and accompanied by texts deriding the works. It had a prime spot for Beckmann, hanging 22 of his paintings.

On the eve of its opening, the painter now widely regarded as one of the most important artists of the 20th century, fled to Amsterdam with his wife.

He hoped to travel on to France or the United States but ended up staying in Amsterdam for 10 years that proved to be some of his most productive.

Now, Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum is hosting the first exhibition focused on Beckmann's Amsterdam years, running through to August 19. Over 100 paintings and drawings show the artists' ambiguous feelings -- relieved to have escaped Nazi Germany, but frustrated at being trapped in the Netherlands.

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