Max Liebermann (1847-1935) enjoyed a special bond with the Netherlands. From the end of the 19th century the German artist would visit Holland every summer. The country inspired his paintings for many years and he established a number of close friendships with artists from the Hague School. Despite these ties, Liebermann’s work is rarely exhibited in the Netherlands, so it is high time for a change!
The Gemeentemuseum is organising a major exhibition on this famous German artist: Max Liebermann – Impressions of summer. Top items from Liebermann’s oeuvre will highlight how he developed from Realist tot Impressionist. The exhibition will also consider his important role in the European art world, and his extraordinary private life.
Between 1870 and 1914 Liebermann spent a number of summers in the Netherlands with his friend Jozef Israels. Together they painted the fashionable lifestyle emerging in that period: outdoor cafés teeming with patrons enjoying the sun, riders and bathers on the beach. By that time Liebermann was a celebrated artist both in his native Germany and abroad, famous for his paintings with ‘sunspots’. In 1920 he was even appointed director of the academy in Berlin, a position he would have to relinquish towards the end of his life, when Hitler came to power. Yet he continued to be a favourite with the public in Germany, even after his death.
Despite the political and social tensions, Liebermann remained a sunny Impressionist in his work, as you will see in this exhibition. Max Liebermann – Impressions of Summer is organised with partner the Liebermann-Villa am Wannsee museum, featuring highlights like Free Hour at the Amsterdam Orphanage (1881-1882) and The Parrot Man (1902), painted at Amsterdam’s Artis zoo. Special detail: Liebermann’s Free Hour at the Amsterdam Orphanage will for the first time be leaving Frankfurt since it gained a permanent home there at the city’s Städel Museum.
A book of the same name has been published to accompany the exhibition. Besides reproductions of Liebermann’s beautiful work, it also contains a wealth of historical images (published by WBOOKS, €24.95). For his youngest fans there is the latest in the series of children’s art books published by the Gemeentemuseum in collaboration with Leopold Publishing. De zee van meneer Max (available only in Dutch) was written by Koos Meinderts and illustrated by his wife Annette Fienieg.
Not only will the most famous works from Liebermann’s oeuvre be on display, but they will also be combined in splendid fashion with the best works from the Hague School.