Paradise in Wannsee
A new set of themes entered Liebermann's oeuvre in the period around 1900: parks, gardens and villa-style buildings surrounded by lush vegetation. In 1909 he bought a piece of land on the northern shores of the Greater Wannsee lake just outside Berlin, which enabled him to pursue and deepen his interest in this kind of subject matter. The following year, a two-storey villa was built on the property according to plans drawn up by the Berlin architect Paul Baumgarten, a pupil of Alfred Messel's, and this became the Liebermanns' summer residence. The task of planning the extensive gardens was given to the landscape architect Albert Brodersen; Liebermann also received advice from Alfred Lichtwark, the first director of the Hamburger Kunsthalle. When complete, the grounds contained a vegetable garden facing towards the street, flower terraces behind the house, a large lawn leading down to the banks of the lake and three hedge gardens on the north side. Liebermann's lakeside retreat at Wannsee is the subject of more than 200 works that reflect an increasingly loose and expressive painting style and are inspired by a more impressionistic mode of perception. Many of these paintings are riotous explosions of colour, generated by bold combinations of flowering plants.