Berlin (Feb. 10)
Only his nearest relatives will attend funeral services for Max Liebermann, one of the greatest Jewish artists in the world, who died early yesterday, at the age of 87, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency was informed here today.
The funeral will take place on Monday, at noon. The great artist will be buried in the Jewish cemetary at Weisensee, a suburb of Berlin.
Restriction to relatives of attendance at the funeral was made in accordance with the wish of Liebermann’s family. The Jewish Community of Berlin will be represented at the services by a member of its executive. Dr. Leo Baeck, chief rabbi of Berlin, will deliver the eulogy.
Professor Liebermann, after having been for many years president emeritus of the Prussian Academy of Art, was compelled to resign from this post soon after Hitler came to power. Later the Nazi government prohibited exhibition of his works in Germany, as well as the sale of his paintings.
The last exhibition of Profesor Liebermann’s work was held a few months ago in London, in one of the most prominent galleries there. The entire English press acclaimed him as one of the greatest artists in the world.
BORN IN BERLIN
Professor Max Liebermann was born in Berlin on July 20, 1847, the son of a well-to-do Jewish family. In 1868 he enrolled in Berlin University to study philosophy, but was attracted to painting, which he began to study. He achieved success in this medium almost immediately.
In 1873 Liebermann went to Paris where he became acquainted with such painters as Manet, Millet and Barbizon. Returning to Germany he settled in Munich where his greatest work was accomplished.
Although Liebermann was soon recognized as one of the great German painters, during the monarchy he was denied all official recognition because of his religion. His election as president of the Berlin Academy of Art was vetoed by the Kaiser. When the republic was established, he was elected president of the academy and when his three-year term ended, the law restricting the presidency to three years was repeatedly suspended in his favor.
When Professor Liebermann celebrated his eightieth birthday in 1927, the late President Paul von Hindenburg sent him a personal message and the birthday was made an occasion for national rejoicing.
PRAISED BY HINDENBURG
“Your life work,” the Field Marshal wrote him, “is of undying importance in the history of art. You have opened up a new road for a whole generation of artists who follow in your steps In token of the great debt which the German people owe you, I hereby confer on you the Shield of the Eagle of the Empire.”
The city of Berlin sent a deputation to the aged painter to express “pride to be able to claim you as a son of our city. Your life work has made Berlin famous in the art history of the world.”
“I was born a Jew and I shall die one,” Professor Liebermann declared on this occasion. “The other day I looked out at the old Jewish cemetery and said to myself: ‘It is a very fine thing to know that your grandparents and your parents lie there and that you too will lie there.’
“Many years ago when I was offered the post of president of the academy, the letter containing the offer instructed me to become a convert to Christianity at once. I told those people that if it will make me paint better, I might consider being baptized.”
Last July, on his eighty-seventh birthday, the aged painter told a reporter of the C. V. Zeitung that in his youth the Jewish question played a small role, but that the change that had come over the Jewish youth in Hitlerite Germany with its emphasis on Jewishness was to the good.
Professor Liebermann is a member of a famous German Jewish family. His brother, the late Carl Liebermann, was a famous chemist. Another brother, Felix, was a historian and an authority on English history. Walter Rathenau, slain German Foreign Minister, was his first cousin.
“Moral Enquiries on the Situation of Men and Brutes,” which was published in England in 1824 and whose author was Lewis Gompertz, led to the foundation of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals with Gompertz as honorary secretary.