Bismarck, Otto v.
Kleist, Heinrich v.
Ossietzky, Carl v.
Schinkel, Karl Friedrich
b. July 20, 1847, Berlin
d. Feb. 8, 1935, Berlin
painter and etcher known for his objective studies of the life and labour of the poor and as the
leader of the German Impressionist school.
After studying under Steffeck (1866-68), Liebermann attended the Weimar
Kunstschule (1868-72). The straightforward realism and direct simplicity of his first
exhibited picture, "Women Plucking Geese" (1872; Nationalgalerie, Berlin), presented
a striking contrast to the romantically idealized art then in vogue. This picture earned
him the epithet "disciple of the ugly." A summer spent at Barbizon in 1873, where he
became acquainted with Jean-Francois Millet and studied the works of Corot, Constant
Troyon, and Charles-Francois Daubigny, resulted in the brightening of his palette.
"The Flax Spinners" (click on the image to enlarge)
Liebermann returned to Munich in 1878 and finally settled in Berlin in 1884. During
this period he found his subjects in the orphanages and asylums for the old in
Amsterdam and among the peasants and urban labourers of Germany and The
Netherlands (e.g., "The Flax Spinners," 1887). In these works Liebermann did for
German art what Millet had done for French painting.
After 1890 Liebermann's style was influenced by French Impressionism--initially by
the works of Manet and later by Degas. He became a member (1898) and later
president of the Berlin Academy, despite his role as the founder and leader of the
Berliner Sezession (1899), a group of artists who supported the academically
unpopular styles of Impressionism and Art Nouveau.
"Liebermann, Max" Encyclopædia Britannica Online.