About the exhibition
The exhibition is built around new discoveries regarding the women of the Liebermann family: Martha (1857-1943), the artist’s wife, Käthe (1885-1952), their daughter, and Maria (1917-1995), Max and Martha Liebermann’s beloved granddaughter. The project approaches these figures through works of art, literary references, family correspondence and previously undiscovered sources, in particular relating to the fate Käthe and Maria in American exile.
Martha Liebermann (born Marckwald) had known Max Liebermann since her youth, and the Marckwald and Liebermann families were closely linked. She stood at her husband’s side for over 50 years – was at the same time known as a strong personality who knew how to assert herself.
The exhibition lays particular focus on the artist’s daughter Käthe Riezler (born Liebermann) and his granddaughter Maria White (born Riezler). New research paints a clearer picture of the two women and their lives. Käthe, for example, had a wide range of interests; she played tennis and took drawing lessons. Maria Riezler, Käthe and Kurt’s daughter, was born in 1917 and brought much joy to the family. The family bond was strong and the Riezlers often visited Martha and Max at what is now the Liebermann Villa on Wannsee. Max Liebermann’s paintings of his family provide us today with rare insights into their private life.
The rise of the Nazi regime brought drastic changes for the Jewish Liebermann family. The exhibition recounts Martha’s tragic final years in Berlin. Käthe, her husband Kurt and the 21-year-old Maria were able to flee to America in 1938. The show explores in particular the later life of Maria – primarily known as a child in the paintings of her grandfather – as a young woman rebuilding her life in New York.