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Museums

Liebermann-Villa am Wannsee

The Liebermann-Villa shows work and life of the impressionist painter Max Liebermann.
Liebermann-Villa am Waldsee
Die Villa des Malers Max Liebermann in Berlin-Wannsee (Foto von 2010). © dpa

Impressionist painter Max Liebermann (1847-1935), President of the Prussian Academy of Arts until 1932, one of the most influential public personalities of his day, lived here surrounded by the lush landscaped garden which became the subject of many of his paintings. Liebermann’s villa was part of the so-called Alsen Colony, founded by banker and property magnate Wilhelm Conrad in 1863, whose idea it was to create an upper-middle-class version of the Hohenzollern dynasty’s Sanssouci, the Potsdam royal residence. Max Liebermann’s villa, like other Jewish-owned residences such as Villa Minoux, where the infamous Wannsee Conference took place, was confiscated by the Nazis in 1933.

For an insight into Liebermann’s work, life and times, the painstakingly restored Klein Versailles (small Versailles), as he called it, is second to none. The 280,000 Euro restoration has transformed the house and the garden, subject of over 200 paintings and a total of approximately 400 works of art by Liebermann, into a fascinating historical site.

Liebermann’s painting represented the transition from Naturalism to Impressionism in the 1890s and was central to the debate on modern painting in Germany. He was a co-founder and president of the Secession movement, which had opposed the restrictions of Wilhelmine cultural policy. As President of the Prussian Academy of Arts (1920-1932) he was an internationally respected figure known for his biting Berliner wit and anecdotes. He remained a controversial figure throughout his life always suspect on account of his liberal, pro-French leanings. Later, as a liberal Jew, he became increasingly the target of the Nazi political propaganda. The fact that Lieberman, a Jewish artist had risen as far as painting the official portrait of President von Hindenburg, caused a furore in Nazi circles.

Forced to resign his Presidency of the Academy, Liebermann bitterly took on the office of president of the Kulturbund der Deutschen Juden (Cultural Association of German Jews), once Jewish artists had been excluded from the Reichskulturkammer (Reich’s Cultural Chamber).

A visit to the Villa includes Liebermann’s domestic quarters, the artist’s studio, the idyllic garden complete with a tea-house, sundial, and bench. Some of his paintings are exhibited in the living room and bedroom.

Coffee and cake on the terrace with lake-view provides an ideal ambience to rest and ponder while letting a summer afternoon drift by.

An audioguide for children is available.

Address: Liebermann-Villa am Wannsee
Colomierstraße 3
14109 Berlin
Phone: 030 80 58 59 00
Internet: liebermann-villa.de
Opening Hours: April-September: Wed-Mon 11-18
October-March: Wed-Mon 11-17
Admission Fee: Summer 7 Euro, winter 6 Euro, red. 4,- Euro
Guided Tours: Oktober-March: Sat, Sun und public holidays 2pm
April-September: Sat, Sun und public holidays 2pm and 4pm
Source: Max-Liebermann-Gesellschaft Berlin e.V., Bearbeitung: Berlin.de
Last edited: 25. January 2016

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(Bilder: dpa; Accorhotels 2012; VisitBerlin; BerlinOnline/argus/flashpics/fotolia.com; Antje Kraschinski)