A sketchbook by Max Liebermann is restituted by the Berlin Academy of Arts and returned to the heirs of Max and Martha Liebermann. According to a press release by the academy, it mainly contains drawings from garden bars at Wannsee.
The book was purchased for the collection of the Academy of Arts in Munich in 2005. At the time, nobody noticed that the inner cover contained the estate stamp with the facsimile signature that Martha Liebermann signed after the death of her husband in 1935 marked his estate. This stamp – it proves that the book was still with Martha Liebermann in the 1930s – was only discovered during provenance research in the art collection.
The Academy of Arts writes that they feel a special obligation to the legacy of the artist Max Liebermann, who as President of the Prussian Academy of Arts Berlin opened the institution to modernity, but felt compelled to resign after the National Socialists seized power.
In the fall of 1935, his widow Martha Liebermann moved from the house on Pariser Platz to an apartment and was forced to give up her entire fortune. Her daughter emigrated to the USA with her family in 1938. In 1943, Martha was to be deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto and shortly before that she committed suicide. Her apartment was sealed by the Gestapo in 1943 and the inventory, including the art collection, was recorded on confiscation lists, including “3 sketchbooks”.
Whether this present sketchbook was still in her possession at that time remains unclear. However, it is presumed that Martha Liebermann had to surrender it between 1935 and 1943 under the pressure of Nazi persecution. For the Academy of Arts, it is important to contribute to the recognition of the injustices that occurred at that time through this restitution.
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