The Pastels and the drawings
Pastel drawing became an important means of expression for Max Liebermann starting in the 1890s, though he may have been inspired by his role models as well. Edgar Degas, for example (an artist Liebermann especially admired) had already completed his pastel landscapes by the late 1860s.
The pastel stick was a medium particularly well-suited to working in outdoors in nature – something to which the artist began to attach more and more importance – in that it allowed him to directly reproduce what he saw. This immediacy factor is impressively preserved in the pastels presented here. At times it is no more than just a few colorful, hasty-placed dashes and spots on paper that come together to form a vivid image in the eye of the viewer.
Max Liebermann was a tireless draftsman. For one, he thoroughly prepared his paintings by drafting them first. Once he had fixed the individual figures and details (this could be a lengthy drafting process) he focused on the painting's overall design in the form of composition studies. Second, Liebermann noted and translated whatever first-hand visual impressions he had into drawings. Spontaneous sketches like these are not part of a particular phase within the artistic process, but can be characterized as autonomous works in their own right. Be it for portraits, figure studies, genre scenes or landscapes, Liebermann used drawing to cover the entire range of pictorial types and subject matter.