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Max Liebermann is a German painter and graphic artist. He was born in Berlin on 20 July 1847 and studied at the Weimar art academy. Over the course of his life, Liebermann becomes one of the most important representatives of impressionism. In his works, he is strongly influenced by the summers he spent in the Netherlands.
In 1873 Liebermann heads to Paris, where he develops a realistic art style under the influence of Jean-François Millet and Frans Hals. In the Louvre he studies the works by the Dutch masters. Between 1874 and 1914 he spends his summer months painting in the Netherlands. The places where he stays include Katwijk, Noordwijk, Scheveningen, and Laren. His heavy, realistic style develops into a cheerful, brightly coloured impressionism. He paints typical summer scenes, such as a sunny terrace, horses on the beach of Scheveningen, and parrots in Artis zoo.
Liebermann befriends the painters of the Hague School. Following the advice of his friend Jozef Israëls, Liebermann travels to Zweeloo in Drenthe in 1879. In 1882 he stays there again for three months. The works he paints here include 'Die Rasenbleiche', an attractive display of farming life in Drenthe. Women are seen bleaching their freshly washed sheets on the grass. A laundry basket stands in the foreground. In the background, partially obscured by old trees, we see part of a farm. In front of it are chickens. Die Rasenbleiche was issued as a stamp by the Deutsche Post in 2013. The paintings Liebermann made in Drenthe, inspired Vincent van Gogh to also travel to Drenthe.
When Liebermann returns to Berlin in 1884, he is appointed as professor at the Köningliche Akademie der Künste. He also chairs the artist group 'Berliner Sezession' and is the president of the Prussian Academy of Arts. In 1927, in honour of his 80th birthday, he is made an honorary citizen of the city of Berlin.
As a result of the increasing popularity of nazism, the national socialists decide to no longer exhibit the works of the Jewish Liebermann in 1933. Liebermann resigns as the chairman of the Prussian Academy and joins the Kulturbund Deutscher Juden. From that moment on, he is shunned by the German art community. Isolated and alone, Max Liebermann dies in Berlin on 8 February 1935.