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Saturday, May 28, 2022

courage to break through

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Liebermann Villa, Colomierstr. 1, to June 6; Wed to Mon 10 am to 6 pm

The steaming soup is on the table. A woman and two men bent over their plates. The background on the left is almost black and does not reveal what is happening at the edge of the image. Vapor is more like solid matter than fog. In the exhibition at the Liebermann Villa in Wannsee “Black and white. Impressions of Liebermann” one can experience Liebermann as a student and realize: no teacher has fallen from the sky yet.

The painter, who can so confidently portray the mist over the North Sea or the fragrant beds in his garden at Wannsee, that he has an eye for work in the country and elegance in the city, initially struggles with the graphic medium. This search is a victory for the audience, because imperfection trains the eye. Especially since the exhibition celebrating the artist’s 175th birthday on July 20 clearly explains the different printing techniques. In this way, it is possible to understand the peculiarities with which Liebermann faced engravings, lithographs or woodcuts.

The artist began producing prints based on his own paintings in the mid-1870s. When he lived in Paris for five years after graduating, he was asked for a reproduction of his painting “The Brothers by the Gazette des Beaux Arts” magazine. ” of 1876. Liebermann valued the opportunity of the graphic to spread his work even more and reach a different public. attain. In the end he was so successful with this strategy that by 1933 he had prints of his in every major collection. The current exhibition was created from the collection of the Villa Liebermann Promotion Society, which has existed since 1995.

Also in the exhibition is the war enthusiast Liebermann

Shortly before the opening, an anonymous donation caused a sensation: a lithographic stone with a drawing by Liebermann. A rarity, because the stone is often recut and reused. Lithography, grease pencil drawing on prepared limestone, is obviously easier for Liebermann. It allows you to translate the flowing lines of it into black and white.

But Liebermann also uses other techniques. Only when he shows the courage to leave gaps and does not translate every brush stroke on the canvas, does the light enter the leaves. For “Die Netzflickerinnen” he combines etching and drypoint etching, reworking the motif over and over again. At the end, the woman in the foreground is still unusually dark. Her clouds look like cotton balls. But the expanse of the landscape and the concentration of the women repairing correspond to the mood of the painting.

Also in the exhibition is the war enthusiast Liebermann. On view are two 1915 lithographs for Paul Cassirer’s “Wartime – Artist Flyers,” which the gallery owner soon discontinued, disillusioned. Liebermann’s woodcuts and engravings were created in collaboration with Oskar Bangemann or Reinhold Hoberg and clearly bear the woodcutters’ signature. Therefore, the artist complained that he depended on the woodcutter for this technique.

At his summer house in Wannsee, he finally manages to create light in black and white. The lady in white on a bench behind a flowering chestnut tree conveys the feeling of a floating moment of harmony with nature in early summer.

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