Oil on canvas 54.5 x 75.7 cm, framed. Signed 'M Liebermann' in black lower right. - In fine original condition.
Eberle 1928/10 (with annotation "lost")
With a confirmation by Matthias Eberle, Berlin, dated 12 December 2012
Galerie Abels, Cologne (1930); formerly collection Konsul Bomke, Dortmund
Cologne May 1930 (Galerie Abels), sales catalogue with illus. (according to catalogue raisonné)
cf. Anna Teut, Max Liebermann, Blütenpracht im Staudengarten, in: Max Liebermann, Gartenparadies am Wannsee, Munich 1997, p. 57 ff.
Eberle based his dating of the present painting on a similar chalk drawing which Liebermann dated 1928 and which “records the blossoming bushes in an almost identical fashion” (Matthias Eberle, Max Liebermann: Werkverzeichnis der Gemälde und Ölstudien, vol. II, 1900-1935, p. 1191).
The garden motif from Liebermann's Wannsee villa that is depicted here is among the classic views of his front garden. Here, we can observe a specific pictorial detail, one that the artist clearly favoured: Liebermann interweaves the more strictly architectonic prospects of the garden with an imaginary viewer's roaming lines of sight in a manner that is both natural and refined - expanding the space and opening up the eye.
The path coming from the street actually forms an absolutely straight line to the entrance of the Wannsee villa and divides the garden into symmetrical halves. In the composition of the painting, this path is seen at an angle. The darker destination of the house is picturesquely shifted into the right half of the canvas, while the gaze of the viewer is directed to the left, to the blossoming bushes next to the so-called garden cottage - as though the viewer were a visitor walking up this sunny garden path. Here, we now quickly lose ourselves in the expansive summer bloom that Liebermann repeatedly depicted in countless variations of plantings. The thickly applied, brushed textures model the growth of the vegetation in an almost three-dimensional form - the artist carefully counters them with the articulation of his own pictorial geometry.
In this way, in spite of the close-up view and the agitation of the individual forms, the painting takes on an unshakeable stability in which light and colour are able to develop freely. Here the atmosphere of the moment remains suggestive and deeply human; we seem to sense the pleasure with which Liebermann repeatedly took on the task of depicting his cherished home. The Wannsee garden, with its various prospects, became a central theme in his late work.