You are now entering the Jewish Currents archive.

February 8: Painter of the Poor

February 8, 2013

German naturalist painter Max Liebermann, who became known as a "painter of the poor" for his portraits of Dutch farmers and tradespeople during his annual summer sojourns in the Netherlands, died on this date in 1935. Liebermann was professor at the Royal Academy of Arts in Berlin. He was the son of a wealthy family and built a significant collection of Impressionist works. According to New York's Jewish Museum, Liebermann's "dominant presence was particularly evident at the turn of the [20th] century, first with his naturalist painting of common workers, which gained him immediate notoriety, and soon thereafter as he introduced modern (mostly French) art to Germany." In 1933, the Nazis forced his resignation as president of the Academy of Arts. To see a wide variety of his paintings, click here.

"While Liebermann has long been thought to represent the first generation of emancipated Jewish artists in Germany, his art does reflect his equivocal status in German society as a Jew." —Mason Klein