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Liebermann painted self portraits throughout his life. Along with Lovis Corinth and Max Beckmann, Liebermann's devotion to self-portraiture produced many moving and acute testimonies to artistic self-examination. Liebermann frequently portrayed himself before the easel or in the studio, smartly dressed and in the act of painting. This picture is Liebermann's final self portrait, completed when he was 88, a year before his death. His gaze appears resigned and the mood of the painting subdued. The previous year, after the accession to power of the National Socialists, Liebermann had been summarily relieved of the presidentship of the Prussian Academy and his numerous other honours because he was Jewish.

September 2004