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Max Liebermann

(1847–1935, Berlin)

Herengracht in Amsterdam. Vernis-mou and drypoint on Japan paper. 8.2 x 17.8 cm. Signed. (1896). Schiefler 38 VI.

As early as the 1870s Max Liebermann travelled regularly to the Netherlands for study purposes. In 1884 the artist married Martha Marckwald, the honeymoon journey taking the newlyweds via Brunswick and Wiesbaden to Scheveningen, where Liebermann met a fellow artist by the name of Jozef Israels. Together they travelled to Laren, where Liebermann made the acquaintance of the painter Anton Mauve, and from there to Delden, Haarlem and Amsterdam. From the late 1880s onwards Liebermann spent every summer in the Netherlands, staying in Scheveningen, Katwijk or Noordwijk, where he depicted the fashionable beach life, bathers and riders. During this period
he also paid frequent visits to Amsterdam. The hustle and bustle in the city’s historic Jewish quarter found expression in numerous paintings, drawings and prints. The present intimate depiction of a quiet canal in Amsterdam is however quite rare in the artist’s printed work. Liebermann presents the Herengracht in summer from an oblique angle and in a very foreshortened manner; the trees with their lush foliage on either side of the canal form an arch over the motionless water, giving the composition coherence and compactness. The reflections of the warm sunlight on the foliage, the venerable facades, the canal path and the water are rendered with consummate mastery. A very fine impression printing with much burr, with wide margins. The etching is very rare; there was no edition and only a few impressions of the various states were printed.

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