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Gallery Text

As a leading German realist painter, Liebermann was dedicated to the portrayal of everyday subjects, like laboring women, orphans, or the elderly, that were then considered unworthy of representation in high art. Inspired by rural life in the Netherlands, where he summered each year, Liebermann painted this scene directly from nature onto a small wooden panel as a study for his large-scale exhibition pictures. Although the work is dated 1889, Liebermann (who often dated works retrospectively) likely painted it as part of a series of similar studies in the summer of 1890. In paintings like this small oil study, with its thick application of color, Liebermann began to break with the academicism and the realism of the past. He was later the founding and longtime president of the Berlin Secession and, as a pioneering collector of French art — including works by Manet, Monet, Degas, and Cézanne — Liebermann also increased appreciation of impressionism and postimpressionism in Germany.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Max Liebermann, German (Berlin, Germany 1847 - 1935 Berlin, Germany)
Dutch Village Scene with Hanging Laundry
Work Type
Persistent Link
Level 1, Room 1440, Modern and Contemporary Art, Secessionism: Munich, Vienna, Berlin
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Physical Descriptions
Oil on panel
39.3 x 50 cm (15 1/2 x 19 11/16 in.)
frame: 72.5 x 83.5 cm (28 9/16 x 32 7/8 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: Signed and dated, l.r., M Liebermann 89
[Hauswedell and Nolte, Hamburg, lot 1023], sold; Hans-Georg Karg, Bad Homburg, 1984, consigned; [Hampel, Munich, lot. 13], sold; Private collection, Germany, 2003, consigned; [Galerie Arnoldi-Livie, Munich], 2008. Busch-Reisinger Museum, 2008.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Purchase through the generosity of Wilhelm Winterstein
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
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Matthias Eberle's text on the picture in the catalogue raisonne argues that we are looking at a scene in a fishing village (cf. the fish drying on the line), and so probably Katwijk or Zaandvoort. This is washing and cleaning day, as indicated not only by the woman bent over the wash, but also by the open windows and doors.
Publication History

Jenns E. Howoldt and Birte Frenssen, Max Liebermann. Der Realist und die Phantasie, exh. cat. (Hamburg, Germany, 1997), Cat. no. 74, p. 176, repr.

Götz Czymmek and Helga Kessler Aurisch, ed., German Impressionist Landscape Painting: Liebermann - Corinth - Slevogt (2010), cat. 5, p. 71

Exhibition History

German Impressionist Landscapes: Max Liebermann, Lovis Corinth, and Max Slevogt, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Houston, 09/12/2010 - 12/05/2010

Ancient to Modern, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/31/2012 - 06/01/2013

32Q: 1440 Secessionism: Munich, Vienna, Berlin (Expressionism), Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

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