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In the current exhibition "When Pictures Speak. Provenance Research on the Liebermann Villa Collection," the Haus am Wannsee presents the results of its first provenance research project. The focus of the special exhibition is on the provenances of selected works of art in the collection. Starting in 2020, 150 works from the collection of the Max Liebermann Society Berlin e.V., the supporting association of the house, could be systematically examined for Nazi persecution-related seizure with the help of a grant from the German Center for the Loss of Cultural Property.

Max Liebermann, Kopf eines St. Adriansschützen aus dem Jahr 1627, Kopie nach Frans Hals, 1896, Öl auf Leinwand, 41 x 32 cm, Max-Liebermann-Gesellschaft, Foto: Oliver Ziebe, Berlin
Max Liebermann, Kopf eines St. Adriansschützen aus dem Jahr 1627, Kopie nach Frans Hals, 1896, Öl auf Leinwand, 41 x 32 cm, Max-Liebermann-Gesellschaft, Foto: Oliver Ziebe, Berlin Max Liebermann, Kopf eines St. Adriansschützen aus dem Jahr 1627, Kopie nach Frans Hals, 1896, Öl auf Leinwand, 41 x 32 cm, Max-Liebermann-Gesellschaft, Foto: Oliver Ziebe, Berlin

The exhibition also provides insights into the life and fate of the Jewish painter Max Liebermann (1847-1935) and his wife Martha Liebermann (1857-1943). Above all, it is about the painting "Head of a St. Adrian's Rifleman from 1627, Copy after Frans Hals" painted by Max Liebermann, which was identified as Nazi looted art.

During the persecution by the Nazi regime, Martha Liebermann lost almost all her assets. In March 1943, she escaped the threat of deportation by committing suicide. After her death, the Nazis confiscated and "liquidated" her possessions. Whether the "St. Adrian's Sagittarius" was confiscated only then, or whether Martha Liebermann had already had to sell it before, could not be conclusively clarified. In either case, however, the painting is clearly to be classified as Nazi looted art. The work was purchased in 2003 in the post-sale of a Berlin auction for the new collection of the Max Liebermann Society.

As part of the project, an agreement has now been reached with the entitled great-granddaughters of Martha and Max Liebermann. They waived compensation or restitution of the painting - on the condition that when it is exhibited, reference is always made to the fate of the Liebermann family, to the provenance of the painting, and to the extremely accommodating agreement.

DR. LUCY WASENSTEINER, DIRECTOR OF THE LIEBERMANN VILLA:

"What paths have Max Liebermann's works taken from the time they were painted until they entered our collection? The fact that we have been able to systematically investigate this long overdue question is thanks to the generous support of the German Center for the Loss of Cultural Property. It enables our museum, which is essentially supported by private funds, to disclose unlawful changes of ownership during the Nazi era and to find a just and fair solution with the heirs of Max and Martha Liebermann."

PUBLICATION

The exhibition will be accompanied by a free digital publication on new findings in provenance research in the context of Max Liebermann and his network.

ACCOMPANYING PROGRAM

Four online conversations on provenance research topics will take place during the exhibition. These free events address topics related to provenance research on Max Liebermann, but also on the cultural property train in the colonial context, in the Soviet Occupation Zone, and in the GDR. Dates and registration online
Additional information
OPENING HOURS OF LIEBERMANN VILLA
October - March: Daily except Tuesdays, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Open on holidays

OPENING MONTH OCTOBER 2022
Free "plein air" guided tours of Max Liebermann and his Villa am Wannsee on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from October 1 - 31, 2022 at 12 noon in the Liebermann Villa garden. Registration on site in the museum store.

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