Wilhelm Ernst Beckmann
Wilhelm Ernst Beckmann was born in Hamburg, Germany 5th of February 1909.
Parents where Wilhelm Beckmann and Louise Bierbaum.
Beckmann had one brother George an activist in German Social Democrat Party, later to become one of the Mayors in the city of Dusseldorf.
At fourteen Beckmann commenced apprenticeship in woodcarving under the Woodcarving Master Peter Olde, who was well known in the trade at that time.
In the spring 1927 Beckmann graduated in his trade and commenced to work in his own workshop along with teaching duties.
During this time Beckmann was producing many pieces of artwork and those where in private ownership and some in museums.
In 1934 Beckmann was 25 year old and well established known artist.
During this time Beckmann was along with his brother George very active within the Social Democratic Party. This was to be a great hindrance to further advancements in Germany.
When Nazism came to power in Germany Beckmann found himself restricted in his activities and things came to a halt when his brother and father where imprisoned for their Social Democratic activities.
To avoid a fate similar to his father and brother Beckmann decided to move to Denmark and try his luck there. After obtaining visa for one year he attended the Royal Academy of Art during his stay. After obtaining Visa to Iceland Beckmann arrives in Reykjavik in 1935, and has neither a job or a place to stay.
Thanks to helpful members of the Icelandic Social Democratic Party Beckmann was assisted in settling down in Reykjavik.
Living in Iceland became a much longer than anticipated, and Beckmann became to love this new land, and place of safety.
Even though Beckmann had many offers to return to Germany, he never accepted any, but became an Icelander with all his heart.
Further proving that point by becoming an Icelandic Citizen in 1946.
In 1940 Beckmann married Valdis Einarsdottir and they had two children, Hrefna living in Iceland and Einar in Australia.
During his life in Iceland Beckmann worked independently and created wide variety of artworks, specially of religious type for many Icelandic Churches.
Many of those works where made on commission, but considerable number of artworks where donated by Beckmann.
Beckmann was often regarded as a person of eccentric nature and would live his life often against the rulebook.
This made him unpopular in some quarters , but Beckmann left a legacy of art to be enjoyed by many generations to come.
Wilhelm Ernst Beckmann died on the 11th May 1965 after a long illness
Poem by Beckmann (in German)
Wir wollen Flamme sein
Welt zu befreien
Wir wollen hochtes Recht
Nicht Herren oder Knecht
Wir wollen unsere ganze Leben
Fur das eine geben
Jedem soll ganzes Mensch sein warden