Max Radler

Charlatans, 1971

About the object

Max Radler's painting »Charlatans« is a commissioned work that refers to an earlier painting titled »The Night of Superstition«. In »Charlatans«, Radler focuses on the subject of fortune telling, which, as far as the title would suggest, he views with a sceptical and critical eye.
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Max Radler painted Scharlatane in 1971 shortly before he died. It was a commission which refers in turn to a work that came about eight years prior to that: an oil painting entitled Nacht des Aberglaubens (The Night of Superstition) produced in 1963 from the Sammlung der Ostdeutschen Galerie in Regensburg. The painting depicts a city square by night populated by a plethora of fanciful animal figures and people engaged in various superstitious practices. In the case of Scharlatane, Max Radler concentrates upon the section of the composition dedicated to fortune telling. A soothsayer consults the Tarot, further to the right in the painting someone’s palm is being read and in the background, an astrologer is predicting the future based upon the stars. Following his sobering experience as a prisoner of war, Max Radler realised that people still allowed themselves to be seduced by charlatans and frequently repressed their reflection upon and processing of history.

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