Max Liebermann - Rote und weiße Blumen nach Südosten (Blumenstauden im Nutzgarten nach Südosten)
Rote und weiße Blumen nach Südosten (Blumenstauden im Nutzgarten nach Südosten)
Oil on canvas 54.5 x 75.5 cm Framed. Signed 'M Liebermann' in blackish brown lower right. On the reverse of stretcher with the label of Galerie Paul Cassirer, filled out in handwriting, No. "18945", titled "Weisse und rote Blumen" as well as with a printed exhibition label of the "XV. Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte della Citta di Venezia" from 1926, no. "1117". - In very fine condition; the corners of the canvas partly with old minor losses of colour; small loss of colour in the left part to one of the white flowers.
The artist originally entrusted the Galerie Cassirer with the sale of the 1925 painting “Rote und weiße Blumen nach Südosten” (Red and White Flowers towards the South-East), which has been offered for sale and published again here for the first time since. It remained in the gallery following the artist's death on 6 February 1935. With the help of documents preserved in the Cassirer archive in Zurich, it can be shown that Martha Liebermann - the widow of the artist and inheritor of the work - had the painting turned over to the Hamburg art dealer Anna Dodeck - who had maintained a business relationship with Cassirer - on 29 August of the same year. In the years that followed, in any case before 1945, and presumably by mediation of this art dealer, the painting made its way into the collection of the North German private collector whose heirs are now offering it for sale. In autumn 2013, Kunsthaus Lempertz, on behalf of the consignor, was able to achieve a settlement with the Liebermann estate in accordance with the Washington Principles.
In his most recent expert opinion, Matthias Eberle writes: “Until now, I had known the painting only from a small b/w reproduction in a catalogue of the Nassauischer Kunstverein from the year 1930, where its dimensions were not listed and its owner was not named. Its dating to '1924' was based on comparisons and assumptions. Through the deciphering of the label glued to the reverse side by the Kunsthandlung Cassirer, some questions have been resolved. The dimensions correspond to those of many other paintings of the garden. Because the Kunsthandlung Cassirer took the painting into its care in early autumn 1925, it may be supposed that it was created in Wannsee in the summer of that year. It is of a remarkable freshness. At the same time, it is a very good work from the late period of the almost 80-year-old artist.”
The detail selected for the painting captures - as is the case with so many other works of those years - the summer shrubs in the front garden of the Wannsee villa. The elongated flower beds form a border along the garden path, which is scarcely recognisable and only briefly enters into the image here. The painter has placed the focus entirely on the blossoming stems and the form they take - with their irregular growth and the shifting light in the midst of the richly differentiated bushes and foliage. In the vividly depicted series of repeated individual vegetable forms, areas of deep shadow and the sketchy plant poles subtly articulate the perspective. The enchanting motif takes shape in the light-filled, mixed colours and the painterly structure of the brushstrokes.
In this context it may be appropriate to once again recall to mind that, among French artists, Liebermann particularly cherished the works of Edgar Degas and Edouard Manet. The artist's collection included not only Manet's famous “Bunch of Asparagus” - painted in 1880 and now in Cologne's Wallraf-Richartz-Museum - but also, among other works, two garden views with a purely vegetational motif: the whereabouts of Manet's 1881 larger-format “Coin de jardin - Panneau décoratif” are currently unknown and a second, smaller garden painting became the property of the family of Dr. Walter Riezler, the brother of Martha Liebermann's son-in-law. Sensitive to the nuances in the depiction of what appear to be the most unremarkable pictorial subjects and also seem as though they had been discovered more or less by chance, Liebermann reported as early as 1897 to the collector Max Linde regarding a freshly purchased work by Manet, the “Portrait of Madame Manet at Bellevue” (1880; now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York): “By the way, the fact that I recently bought my 4th Manet will prove to you better than words how much I adore this master. A lady or, more accurately (?), a straw hat in the greenery” (cited in: exhib. cat. Verlorene Schätze, Die Kunstsammlung von Max Liebermann, Liebermann-Villa am Wannsee, Berlin 2013, p. 173, cf. cat. no. 113 with colour illus.; see also cat. nos. 119 and 120, pp. 176/177, each with b/w illus.).
List of works
Eberle 1924/16 ("Horizontal format, dimensions unknown/unsigned (?)/ whereabouts unknown")
With an expertise by Matthias Eberle, Berlin, dated 12 December 2012
Paul Cassirer Berlin, taken over on Sept. 18, 1925, there in commission until Aug. 29, 1935 (widow Martha Liebermann), then Anna Dodeck, Hamburg; Private collection, Northern Germany (before 1945); since then in family possession
Matthias Eberle, Max Liebermann 1847-1935, Werkverzeichnis der Gemälde und Ölstudien, vol. II, 1900-1935, no. 1924/16, p. 1109 with illus.
Venice 1926 (XV. Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte della Citta di Venezia), no. 1117 (on the reverse with the exhibition label); Wiesbaden 1929 (Nassauischer Kunstverein), 30 Deutsche Künstler aus unserer Zeit, no. 83 with illus. ("Garten mit weißen und roten Blumen")