Provenance stories focus on Max Liebermann

03. July 2022 to 19. March 2023

In 2017 Max Liebermann’s oil study Wäschetrocknen – Die Bleiche (Drying Laundry – Bleach), painted in 1890 in the Dutch town of Zandvoort and on permanent loan to the MKdW, came under suspicion of having been wrongfully confiscated from its Jewish former owner during the Nazi era. It used to belong to the Leipzig entrepreneur Moritz Ury who had emigrated to Switzerland in 1937 and died there in 1939. The current owner had acquired the work in 2006 without knowledge of its previous history.


The exhibition provides fascinating insights into the multi-year, highly complex provenance research which made it possible to now fully reconstruct the history of Drying Laundry and dispel the initial suspicion. The MKdW takes this case as an opportunity to offer a behind-the-scenes look at museum work. What does the back of this and other works look like? What information turns up when investigating a painting and what sources can researches draw on to clarify the provenance of a work? These and other questions are discussed on the basis of several works in the collection by artists ranging from Johan Christian Clausen Dahl to Peder Severin Krøyer. Many new stories wait to be discovered, but the focus is on Max Liebermann.


Liebermann’s Drying Laundry – Bleach will be the subject of booklet to be published in German and English.


The exhibition is sponsored by:


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