Max Liebermann

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Liebermann, Max


Born July 20, 1847, in Berlin; died there Feb. 8, 1935. German painter and graphic artist.

Liebermann studied in Berlin from 1866 to 1868 and in Weimar from 1868 to 1872. He lived in Paris (1873–78), Munich (1878–84), and later Berlin. Liebermann was the founder of the Berlin Secession (1898–99). In 1897 he was made a professor at the Academy of Arts in Berlin (president, 1920; honorary president, 1932). He was persecuted by the fascists.

Influenced by G. Courbet, J. Israels, and M. Munkácsy, Liebermann continued in the tradition of German realism. In his early paintings he sympathetically and warmly depicted busy factory women, peasants, artisans, and fishermen. Directness of observation, careful depiction of light and air, and purity and richness of colors are combined with precise rendering of line and three-dimensional form (Women Plucking Geese, 1872; The Flax Spinners 1887—both in the National Gallery in Berlin). Beginning in the 1890’s, under the influence of impressionism, Liebermann often painted landscapes, concentrating a great deal of attention on light, movement, and overall painterly effects (Game of Polo in Jena Park, 1902–03, Kunsthalle, Hamburg). Liebermann is known for his advocacy of the realist art of the past.


Gesammelte Schriften. Berlin, 1922.


Scheffler, K. Max Liebermann. Wiesbaden, 1953.
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