Max Liebermann - Beim Buttern - image-1

Lot 54 Dα

Max Liebermann - Beim Buttern

Auction 1187 - overview Cologne
03.12.2021, 18:00 - Evening Sale - Modern and Contemporary Art
Estimate: 35.000 € - 40.000 €
Result: u. R.47.500 € (incl. premium)

Max Liebermann

Beim Buttern
Circa 1885

Watercolour and gouache over pencil on paper 30 x 22.6 cm (mat opening) Framed under glass. Signed 'MLiebermann' (joined) in grey-black upper right. - Firmly matted.

In a letter to Aloys Mayer in Amsterdam, whom in June 1891 Liebermann most probably sent the watercolour here along with a portfolio of drawings and an etching, the artist wrote: "Since the watercolour seemed to appeal to you I would ask that you retain the same [...]." (letter 1891/145, quoted from: Max Liebermann, Briefe, ed. Ernst Braun, Baden-Baden, 2011, vol. 1, 1869-1895, pp. 197f). Evidently Aloys Mayer was interested in particular in our delightful watercolour of a woman making butter - the package Liebermann sent also included a few drawings whose special qualities he sought to emphasize.
Not unlike the famous depictions of the flax barn, for many years women busy sewing, embroidering or lacemaking formed an important part of Max Liebermann's oeuvre. He painted and drew them outdoors or in a home setting, and in all cases his treatment of light was quite masterly. Liebermann's virtuoso use of light and shadow can also be seen in our rare, highly atmospheric watercolour, which presumably shows a maid from Laren with a butter churn standing before a brightly lit window.


With a confirmation of authenticity by Margreet Nouwen, Max Liebermann-Archiv, Berlin


Aloys Mayer, Wiesbaden/Amsterdam (1891, acquired from the artist), estate; Karl und Faber, Munich, auction 75, 17/19 November 1960, lot 661 ("Holländerin am Butterfaß"), colour plate II; Private possession, Switzerland (until 1983); Galerie Römer, Zurich (1984); Private possession, Switzerland; Christie's London, Impressionist and Modern Works on Paper, 10 February 2011, lot 264 ("Brabanter Bäuerin am Butterfass"); Private collection, Berlin; Lempertz, Auktion Moderne Kunst I 1143, Cologne, 29 November 2019, lot 215; Private collection, Hamburg


Letter by Max Liebermann to Aloys Mayer dated 18 June 1891, in: Ernst Braun (ed.), Max Liebermann, Briefe, Baden-Baden, 2011, vol. 1, 1869-1895, letter 1891/145, pp. 197/198