Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare by email

Contact Exhibitor
Artist NameMax Liebermann (Berlin 1847 - 1935 Berlin)
TitleThree Men Walking in a Field
Date of Artworkca. 1880
MediumCharcoal on paper
Size5 1/2 x 8 3/4 in. • 140 x 222 mm
SignedSigned, lower right: M. Liebermann; Inscribed, upper right: No 36.
Framed Dimensions15 1/2 x 19 in. • 39.4 x 48.3 cm


Dr. Donald M. Sledz, Allentown, PA, until 2022

Further Information

As both an artist and collector, Max Liebermann ranked among the most important figures of the German art world in the late 19th and early 20th century. In addition to assembling an important collection French Impressionist works, he became one of the major proponents of Impressionism and Naturalism in Germany. Liebermann traveled extensively in France and the Netherlands in his early years, absorbing the influence of the art and artist he encountered there. His works moved away from the romantic subjects that dominated the artistic scene in 19th-century Germany and he helped lead the modernist movement in his native country, including as a founding member and president of the Berlin Secession.

Liebermann considered drawing to be of primary importance to the artistic process, and he was one of the most significant draughtsmen of the period. Not only did he form a significant collection of drawings, but he also produced thousands of sheets in his lifetime. These drawings were most often preparatory sketches for paintings or fully finalized designs, most often executed in his preferred medium of charcoal or chalk. From the 1880s onward, his drawings are characterized by a swiftness of hand and softness in the delineation of forms and the treatment of atmosphere.

The present sheet is a quintessential example of the influence that the Netherlands and Dutch art had on Liebermann. In the 1880s, the artist became particularly interested in melancholic landscapes and everyday scenes of working people-especially farmers-in part through the influence of his fellow painter and friend Jozef Israëls. Liebermann often depicted solitary figures or small groups of people sitting or standing in fields, and in the present work, three men are seen walking across a barren field. A group of trees is seen in the distance, and a single cloud looms in the upper left, punctuating the otherwise clear sky. The swiftness of the execution of the drawing and the fact that the men appear with a dark shadow at their feet suggests that they are seen around midday with the sun directly above them. Our drawing was likely a sketch made en plein air that was intended to serve as reference material when developing the compositions of the artist's paintings and prints.