Max Liebermann

After Bathing


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Max Liebermann 1847–1935
Original title
Nach dem Baden
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 629 × 911 mm
frame: 826 × 1085 × 99 mm
Bequeathed by G.L. Tietz 1980

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From very early in his career Liebermann frequently painted children, particularly orphans, either playing or working. His earliest works on the theme of childhood were painted at a time when Liebermann was influenced by Dutch painters of the 17th century, particularly Frans Hals. His first paintings of bathers were made in the mid-1870s. He remained deeply attached to Holland throughout his life, frequently visiting the coast around Scheveningen. This is the second of two oils, based on sketches Liebermann made on the Dutch coast in 1903. The figure in the middle appears rather stiffly posed, while the other boys are depicted more naturalistically.

Gallery label, August 2004

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Catalogue entry


Inscribed ‘M Liebermann’ bottom left
Oil on canvas, 24 1/8 × 35 3/4 (63.3 × 91.2)
Bequeathed by G.L. Tietz 1980
Prov: Leonhard Tietz, Cologne (by 1911); his son Gerard L. Tietz, London
Exh: Berliner Secession, Berlin, May–September 1904 (144) as ‘Badende Knaben’
Repr: Kunst für Alle, XIX, 1904, p.452; Gustav Pauli, Max Liebermann: des Meisters Gemälde, Stuttgart and Leipzig 1911, p.149 (dated 1904); Karl Scheffler, Max Liebermann, Munich 1922, p.143

The second of two very similar oils of this composition. The first (reproduced in the book by Gustav Pauli, p.148) is dated 1903, and differs mainly in having an extra seated figure in the centre of the group. That the version now owned by the Tate was the one exhibited at the Berlin Secession in May–September 1904 is confirmed by the fact that it was reproduced in the revue of this exhibition in Kunst für Alle. It does not appear in the records of Liebermann's dealer, the Galerie Paul Cassirer, which suggests that Leonhard Tietz may have bought it direct from him at the Secession.

The composition appears to have been inspired by a scene on the beach at Scheveningen, where Liebermann spent most of the summer months at this period. There is a charcoal drawing in the Kunstmuseum, Basle, which shows most of the same boys in a similar grouping, but with a different background, with sea on the left and a view along a beach on the right with bathing huts and people walking and riding horses. This drawing served as the basis for two etchings, Schiefler no.52 (1904) and Schiefler no.56 (1906).

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1980-82: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1984

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