Station: [24] Max Liebermann: "Boys Bathing", 1902

  • Museum Kunst der Westküste

From 1900 on, the painter Max Liebermann focused in particular on the depiction of beach life at the Dutch seaside which he kept visiting as a study location. The 1902 work Boys Bathing hows a brightly lit view of the North Sea at Scheveningen. In the left foreground a dressed beach warden is standing knee-deep in the water, his back to the viewer, surveying the bathing activities. A number of young men leisurely wade into the waves. In the middle ground their bodies are already reduced to quick strokes of pink paint and disappear heavily abstracted into the surf. Light cloud bands lie in front of the bright blue sky: a perfect summer day for a refreshing bath. The parallels of Liebermann’s turn-of-the-century paintings to Impressionism are evident in a similar choice of subject and a quick manner of painting which involves studying the subject outdoors and capturing momentary light conditions. Like his models Édouard Manet and Edgar Degas, Liebermann avoided the strong division of colour typical of Impressionism. Liebermann became one of the leading German impressionists, along with Lovis Corinth and Max Slevogt.