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Lot 3216 - A181 Impressionist & Modern Art - Friday, 30. June 2017, 02.00 PM


(1847 Berlin 1935)
Grosse Seestrasse in Wannsee.
Oil on canvas.
Signed lower right: M. Liebermann.
73 x 91.5 cm.

The authenticity of the work has been confirmed by Dr. Matthias Eberle, Berlin, 10 May 2017.

- Paul Cassirer, Berlin (with the label on the reverse).
- Bruno Cassirer, Berlin (bought from the above).
- Galerie Aktuaryus, Zurich (bought from the above, with the label on the reverse).
- Private property, Zurich (since 1933 in the same family).

In his early paintings of the 1870s and 1880s, motifs of rural life mainly dominated the work of the artist Max Liebermann. Depictions of farm work in the fields or rural scenes, which he encountered during his travels in The Netherlands, characterise the predominantly realistic style of the artist’s early work. Back in Berlin, Liebermann found his own impressionistic style in the mid-1890s which would subsequently shape all German Impressionism. In contrast to his earlier paintings, Liebermann's subsequent work is characterised by depictions showing people in leisure activities, always embedded within a landscape which he captured so well.

In 1909 Max Liebermann bought a large property at Wannsee, where he built a magnificent villa. For the artist this was an oasis of peace, and his personal designs of the garden brought him great joy. Throughout the years Liebermann spent with his family in this beautiful house, numerous scenes served as subjects for his paintings. In addition to the garden, he was also fascinated by the surrounding and bordering streets, with their tall, old trees, pedestrians and the occasional passing vehicle. One of these streets was the large lake road that ran directly by Liebermann's house and served as a subject in various paintings. The present painting shows precisely this view. He imparts the work with a Sunday atmosphere by capturing the leisurely scene of the pedestrians on a warm, sunny day. This rediscovered painting is the largest views of a lake road that Liebermann painted. "Die grosse Seestrasse in Wannsee" is characterised not only by its large format, but also by the perfect mood that Liebermann successfully conveys. With expert skill, Liebermann captures the light penetrating the dense tree tops and, in combination with the palette-knife technique, creates one of his typical impressionistic paintings. With their pedestrians strolling on the dynamic public street, the paintings of the large lake road present a contrast to his garden pictures, which provide a private insight into the life of the artist. Liebermann’s Wannsee works, among them the work offered here, are a high point in the artist’s oeuvre and document his interest in unifying nature and urban life in one picture.

In 1932 Liebermann met the Swiss art historian Gotthard Jedlitschka, who was delighted by Liebermann and his art. Previously published his dissertation with Bruno Cassirer, he came into contact with Liebermann’s paintings and decided to exhibit some of them at the then-renowned Galerie Aktuaryus, where he was an advisor. Liebermann wrote to Jedlitschka in a postcard: "(...) You may know that Mr. Aktuarius has arranged an exhibition of my last pictures (more correctly, my most beautiful) and I am eager about what you will say about the Zurichers." (Max Liebermann to Gotthard Jedlitschka, Postcard, Wannsee 31 August 1932 (transcription: HJS), ZBZ, estate of Gotthard Jedlitschka 2.34.) Our work, which had previously been with Cassirer and later purchased at Aktuaryus, is one of those selected works Liebermann himself described as "his most beautiful" and one which we are now able to offer at auction for the first time after decades in a private collection.

CHF 500 000 / 800 000 | (€ 500 000 / 800 000)

Sold for CHF 561 000 (including buyer’s premium)
All information is subject to change.