In 2024, the Liebermann Villa on Wannsee will present Max Liebermann's eventful relationship with Italy and its cultural landscape for the first time, with a focus on his "Italian" works, his participation in exhibitions there and their reception.
Italy has been an unmissable travel destination and an important place of inspiration for artists from German-speaking countries since Goethe's Italian Journey (1786–88). Max Liebermann (1847–1935) also approached the country south of the Alps, with which he initially maintained a distant and sometimes ambivalent relationship.
Even though his painting home was Holland, he explained in a text dedicated to the Dutch painter Jozef Israëls: “Perhaps Italy in and of itself is more picturesque than Holland; but we only see Italy in more or less bad […] Italian views: Italy is too picturesque.” (quoted in Max Liebermann: Collected Writings, Berlin 1922, p. 99).
Despite such claims, Liebermann made at least six trips to northern Italy, Tuscany and Lazio between 1878 and 1913. On site he came into contact with representatives of the Italian art scene, regularly exhibited his work and found inspiration for his own works. In 1908, the management of the Uffizi Gallery asked him to create a self-portrait for the in-house portrait collection. His participation in the first international art exhibition of the city of Venice in 1895 was the start of regular participation in Italian art shows.
The exhibition Liebermann-Villa at Wannsee in Berlin takes place in cooperation with the Casa di Goethe in Rome.
It is under the patronage of His Excellency Viktor Elbling of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Rome and the patronage of His Excellency Armando Varricchio of the Italian Embassy in Berlin.