Painting: The Roar of Lions

No nation in this century has tormented itself as much as Germany. One war put it at odds with the world; a second war earned it incomprehensible guilt. German artists, though scorned by the Nazis, learned to turn the other cheek. The cheekiest was the late painter Max Beckmann, who wrote that he wanted to give "our fellow men a picture of their fate, and this can be done only if you love them." Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill could have supplied the words and music.

Beckmann's art jangles with the banjo beat and brassy horns of a prewar Berlin nightclub....

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