"Image of His Soul"
Max Liebermann – Works on Paper

Curator: Sorin Heller

The exhibition "'Image of His Soul,' Max Liebermann – Works on Paper," displays works by one of the most important Jewish artists – one who was recognized and cherished in cultural and artistic circles in Germany and abroad until the Nazi regime ostracized him. Max Liebermann (1847-1935), a leading German painter of the late 19th-early 20th century, is associated with the transition from academic to naturalistic painting, which was later termed German Impressionism.
Liebermann became a – if not the – catalyst of Impressionist influence on German art through his works and artistic organizations, such as The Berlin Secession, which was founded in 1899. In this respect, Liebermann's Berlin period (1884-1935) is said to reflect the greatest influence of Impressionist art outside of Paris.
Unlike the French Impressionists, who painted directly on canvas without prior sketches, Liebermann made many preparatory drawings that reveal his remarkable talent as a draftsman. Liebermann's loyalty to academic tradition is particularly visible in drawn portraits, where the figures' form and character are expressed mainly by meticulous draftsmanship. Like Degas in his drawings, Liebermann used black color for patches, which, in fact, define the form. These are usually quick, expressive lines that try to express a transient reality. Unlike most of Liebermann's portraits, these drawings come close to an Impressionist approach. Although his drawings were a model for the generation of German Expressionists, Liebermann did not exceed the drawings' limits in order to turn expressiveness into the paintings' main tool.
Liebermann never visited Eretz Israel, nor did he identify with the Zionist idea, yet his prints, especially the lithographs, were a model for many local artists, in particular those who, like Hermann Struck, immigrated in the 1930s from Germany and laid the foundations of the artistic print here.