Max Liebermann and Italy in the context of German-Italian artistic exchange from the 1860s to the 1930s
As the leading museum and centre of research on Max Liebermann (1847-1935) the Liebermann-Villa am Wannsee is planning an exhibition project “Max Liebermann and Italy” (WT) for 2024. This project, carried out in collaboration with the Casa di Goethe Museum in Rome, will for the first time investigate Liebermann’s relationship with Italy and its cultural landscape.
Although Liebermann often travelled to the Netherlands and considered it his “adopted homeland”, Italy also played an important role in his artistic development. Between 1878 and 1913 the painter made at least six journeys there, established contacts with Italian artists and critics and took part in international art exhibitions. His works also found their way into Italian collections.
The planned exhibition will be preceded by an academic conference in Spring 2023, which seeks to investigate German-Italian artistic exchange more broadly between the 1860s and the 1930s. The conference aims to highlight German-Italian cultural exchange by looking at other contemporary personalities. In the period between the establishment of the Kingdom of Italy and the German Empire on one side and the advent of Fascism and the National Socialist regime on the other, new aspects concerning German-Italian mobility and exchange between art academies, research institutes, museums and Secession movements as well as international politics regarding exhibitions and collections should be thematised. In this regard, we also seek to investigate whether Liebermann – and other German travellers – enabled a change in the perception of Italy and whether this was a gradual departure from the aestheticizing yearning for Italy in the tradition of Goethe. In contrast we should also consider the development of Italian travellers’ and institutions’ perception of Germany. Proposals that address Italian figures are particularly encouraged.
Considering the breadth of the subject we welcome proposals on new and less well-known perspectives of research. Discussions of individuals, objects, phenomena, debates regarding the production of art, aesthetics of reception, the nature of museums, exhibitions, collections or the art market are all welcome. Initial conclusions on the overarching question of the forms, functions and effects of German-Italian exchange in the given time period should be drawn from the proposals based on individual case studies.