An Avenue in the Sunlight
  • Max Liebermann
  • Berlin 1847 - 1935
  • An Avenue in the Sunlight, circa 1912
  • Coloured chalks, on beige paper,
  • signed with pencil lower left: MLiebermann (interlaced)
    unknown collector’s mark on the verso: JS (not in Lugt)
    and handwritten numbering: 16
  • 107 × 178 mm
Private collection Southern Germany

From his home and studio next to the Brandenburg Gate, Max Liebermann had a direct view of Berlin’s Tiergarten, a forested parkland laced with walking paths and avenues of trees.

Just like the beloved garden of his house on Lake Wannsee, this oasis within the city offered the artist ever new subject matter, with shifting coloured shadows and reflections of light that he mostly sought to capture in pastels. In the tradition of the nineteenth century, yet already influenced by Impressionism, Liebermann varied the splendour of nature time and again through the play of light.

Within the small format of a sketchpad, the perspective of the crooked paths and the pedestrians, only hinted at with dots of colour, heighten the effect of depth and astonishing three-dimensionality. Individual sunbeams between the tree-tops animate the grey-blue of the pavement with points of light, for which Liebermann’s pastels were already famous in his lifetime.

The sheet shown here has been included in the Max Liebermann catalogue raisonné of pastels, watercolours and gouaches currently being prepared by Margreet Nouwen.