Lot 203: Max Liebermann, Judengasse in Amsterdam / Uilenburgersteeg Ecke Jodenbreestraat, 1905
December 2, 2016
Cologne, GermanyLive Auction
Description: Signed 'M. Liebermann' in ink lower right.In the course of his annual stays in Holland, Max Liebermann painted the Jewish quarter for the first time in the summer of 1905, at the suggestion of the director of Amsterdam's academy of art. The painter was particularly captivated by a vantage point offering a view into the Uilenbergersteeg from the main street Jodenbreestraat, and he selected it for a number of images (cf. Eberle 1905/6-12, 1907/5-9).The broad and rapid brushwork is striking: it captures not the singular individual but the passers-by and visitors to the market as a crowd - it is scarcely possible to make out a traditional Dutch bonnet in the foreground. The motif's simplification within the relatively small format of the painting heightens the impression of restless commotion seemingly reigning among the buildings and market stalls. The cropped scenery, which has been pushed towards the viewers, is simultaneously modern and bursts through the painting's edges. Although the impossibility of identifying concrete people and individual events demands fantasy from viewers, the image remains representational.On 27 August 1905 Max Liebermann wrote from Amsterdam to Wilhelm Bode, in the course of a discussion regarding national characteristics in visual art, which are rejected by the painter himself:“I've also worked 8 hours today and under the most difficult outward circumstances. Böcklin and Thoma make things easy for themselves: they 'invent'. But in art invention rests solely on the 'dressing' of nature for art. Anyone can think up paintings […] Bringing to life is making art.” (cited in: Ernst Braun (ed.), Max Liebermann: Briefe 1902-1906, Baden-Baden 2013, no. 358, pp. 343 f.).
Condition Report: Few nail holes in the margins; margins and corners partly minimallly rubbed. Two superficial losses of colour. - Several gallery labels as well as customs and export stamps in French and English on the reverse.
Notes: VAT: Margin scheme
Provenance: Galerie Sturm, Munich (until 1911); Hugo Helbing, Munich (1911); Geheimrat Henneberg Zurich (1914-1919); Lucien Lefebvre-Foinet, Paris (label on the reverse); Nierendorf Gallery, New York (with a fragmentary label on the reverse); private possession (since the early 1930s); Sotheby's New York, Impressionist & Modern Art, 4 May 2011, lot 00354; Christie's New York, Impressionist & Modern Art, 8 November 2012, lot 500
Dimensions: 31.6 x 44 cm
Artist or Maker: Max Liebermann
Exhibited: Munich 1911 (Hugo Helbing), auction of the G.A. Sturm collection, 24 Oct. 1911, lot 93, illus. pl. 48; Zurich 1919 (Galerie Henneberg), auctioned 20-22 Oct. 1919, lot 192, illus. pl. XXV
Literature: Der Cicerone, Bevorstehende Auktionen - Munich (Galerie Sturm), year III, issue 9, Oct. 1911, p. 766; Erich Hancke, Max Liebermann, Sein Leben und seine Werke, Berlin 1914, p. 542 (erroneous substrate "wood"); Kunst für Alle, year XXXV, addition to issue 5/6, April 1920, p. II (report on the auction at Galerie Henneberg)
Medium: Oil on thick card Framed