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Der rosengarten in wannsee mit der tochter und der enkelin des künstlers

About the object

The present work is one of the most stunning examples of Max Liebermann’s depiction of his garden at Wannsee in Berlin. The most picturesque feature of the artist’s villa, the rose garden was carefully cultivated, and provided Liebermann with an endless source of inspiration, changing its appearance with every season. In rendering his beloved rose garden, the artist usually focused his artistic attention on depicting the floral arrangements and the geometrical design of the garden. Showing his daughter Käthe and grand-daughter Maria taking a stroll, the present work is a rare example in which the garden is populated by figures. The artist’s grand-daughter (fig. 1), who was three years old at the time this picture was executed, is shown playfully discovering nature and enjoying an outing with her mother.\n\nHaving attained considerable recognition as an artist, followed by financial success, Liebermann commissioned a villa in 1909, sparing no expense on its formal flower beds, exotic shrubs and thick hedges. The Wannsee villa became the painter’s summer residence during the last decades of his life, and the paintings from this period show his garden in all its glory. Within this series, the artist rendered his subject from various angles, sometimes focusing on the enclosed, cultivated patches of flowers while at other times representing the open expanses. The present version shows the Rosengarten, which Liebermann had designed as part of his garden in 1912, in its full summer splendour.\n\nLiebermann’s practice of painting en plein air, and his method of exploring the same subject from a variety of viewpoints, demonstrate his status as the most important German post-Impressionist painter. Like Claude Monet, who never tired of painting his flower garden at Giverny, Liebermann found a constant source of inspiration in his Wannsee garden. Whilst in some depictions of the rose garden he concentrated on recreating its geometric pattern, dividing his composition into clearly delineated circular shapes and straight lines, in others he chose a more Impressionistic approach with looser, more spontaneous brushwork, concentrating on the effect of light and colour. In the present work the artist achieved a dynamic composition by combining the two styles: the viewer’s eye is lead down the path stretching from the lower right corner towards the circular pattern dominating the centre of the composition, complemented by the strong vertical lines of roses rising towards the sky. This carefully constructed image is, however, painted in quick, Impressionistic brushstrokes of ochre and green, punctuated by the jewel-like spots of bright red roses.\n\nThis pictorial approach, as well as the choice of subject matter, is reminiscent of Renoir’s pictures executed at Wargemont, a house where he spent several summers and painted many views of the rose garden (fig. 3) that fascinated him. Like his French counterpart Claude Monet (fig. 4), Liebermann’s depictions of the rose garden became freer and more spontaneous towards the later years of his career, when his application of paint became more liberal and his use of colour more daring than in his earlier work. His fascination with nature and the joy he took in painting the changing colours and patterns in his garden, led him to an increasingly abstract handling of paint.\n\nFig. 1, Maria, the artist's grand-daughter, in the Wannsee rose garden\nFig. 2, Max Liebermann, Mein Haus in Wannsee, mit Garten, 1926, oil on canvas, sold: Sotheby's, New York, 6th May 2003\nFig. 3, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Les Rosiers à Wargemont, 1879, oil on canvas, Private Collection\nFig. 4, Claude Monet, Une Allée du jardin de Monet, Giverny, 1902, oil on canvas, Österreichische Galerie, Vienna\nFig. 5, Max Liebermann in the rose garden, 1931\nSigned M. Liebermann and dated 1920 (lower left)


Oil on canvas


Max Liebermann


63.5 by 90.5cm.


Berlin, Preussische Akademie der Künste, Herbstausstellung der Preussischen Akademie der Künste zu Berlin, 1920, no. 137 Zurich, Kunsthaus, Max Liebermann im Züricher Kunsthaus, 1923, no. 97, illustrated in the catalogue Hamburg, Hamburger Kunstverein, Max Liebermann, 1926, no. 37 Munich, Deutsche Kunstausstellung, 1930, no. 1548 Berlin Nationalgalerie & Munich, Haus der Kunst, Max Liebermann in seiner Zeit, 1979, no. 121


Velhagen & Clasings Monatshefte, 1920-21, vol. XXXV, no. 12, illustrated after p. 608 Hans Rosenhagen, Max Liebermann, Bielefeld & Leipzig, 1927, mentioned p. 80, illustrated in colour pl. 65 Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration, vol. 67, October 1930 - March 1931, illustrated p. 20 Die Weltkunst, 1932, vol. VI, no. 10, illustrated p. 5 Kunst und Künstler, Berlin, 1932, vol. XXXI, illustrated p. 149 (titled Wannseegarten) Holly Prentiss Richardson, Landscape in the Work of Max Liebermann, Ann Arbor, 1991, vol. II, no. 638, illustrated p. 225 Matthias Eberle, Max Liebermann, Werkverzeichnis der Gemälde und Ölstudien, Munich, 1996, vol. II, no. 1920/29, illustrated in colour p. 1021


Max Böhm, Berlin (acquired by 1921) Private Collection, Berlin (acquired by 1923) Robert Neumann, Germany Max & Eva Neumann, Königsberg (a wedding gift from the above in 1926. Eva Neumann emigrated to New York in 1938) Thence by descent to the present owner


Signed M. Liebermann and dated 1920 (lower left)


Painted in 1920.


Property of an American Private Collector


1847 - 1935

*Note that the price is not recalculated to the current value, but refers to the actual final price at the time the product was sold.

*Note that the price is not recalculated to the current value, but refers to the actual final price at the time the product was sold.