Liebermann spent the summer of 1876 in Holland. In Haarlem he copied paintings and details from paintings by Frans Hals, mainly his late works such as the Women Regents of the Old Men’s Alms House in Haarlem. On his way home to Amsterdam one day he managed to glimpse the courtyard of the city’s orphanage. He was fascinated by the lighting conditions and the colours: the dresses of the girls in the municipal colours of red and black harmonising with brick red and green, the play of light and the easy movements of the children in their enclosed sphere of activity. The similarity between their social situation and that in the 17th-century pictures he had just studied would also have struck him — his first drawing of the courtyard is on the back of one of his copies after Frans Hals. Liebermann produced an actual painting of the orphan girls later in his studio. Our oil sketch conveys the artist’s first fresh impression very accurately. It was purchased by Wilhelm Bode, the future general manager of the Berlin museums, for his private collection.


  • Title: Orphan Girls in Amsterdam
  • Creator: Max Liebermann
  • Date Created: 1876
  • Physical Dimensions: w80.0 x h65.0 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Technique and material: Oil on canvas
  • Inv.-No.: A II 387
  • ISIL-No.: DE-MUS-815114
  • External link: Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Copyrights: Text: © Prestel Verlag / Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, http://www.bpk-images.de
  • Collection: Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Artist biography: Max Liebermann was a German-Jewish painter and printmaker. Together with Lovis Corinth and Max Slevogt he was a key figure in German Impressionism. After having studied law and philosophy at the Berlin’s Humboldt University, he began his training as an artist, first in Weimar (in 1869), then in Paris, as well as in the Netherlands (from 1876 to 1877), during which time he copied the works of Frans Hals. After having served in the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71) he made his first journey to Italy to study the compositions of Carvaggio and Bellini. He lived and worked in Munich before finally settling down permanently in Berlin. It was here that he became famous for his portraits, mostly of the bourgeoisie, which were deeply influenced by Édouard Manet. Liebermann became the leader of the Berlin Secession in 1899 and president of the Prussian Academy of Arts in 1920. He is known for such works as the 'Bathing Boys' (1900).
  • Artist Place of Death: Berlin, Germany
  • Artist Place of Birth: Berlin, Germany
  • Artist Dates: 1847-07-20/1935-02-08

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app
Google apps