While he was still a student in Weimar, Liebermann produced this early masterpiece. Although still showing the influence of other artists, nevertheless it also points towards the future. In 1871 Liebermann, along with Theodor Hagen, had visited the fashionable painter Mihaly Munkácsy in Düsseldorf. In his studio they saw his almost finished Flax Pickers, which made a lasting impression on Liebermann. When a friend return-ed from a study tour with a drawing of women plucking geese, Liebermann had found his subject, combining the composition of the drawing with Munkácsy’s style. He made detailed studies for the work in Weimar, taking his own drawing of Goethe’s last coachman as his model for the male figure — Liebermann’s lodgings as a student in Weimar were opposite Goethe’s house. Women Plucking Geese was the first work that the 25-year-old Liebermann exhibited, and it was not received well, being mocked for its “poor” subject matter and dark coloration. However, it did find a buyer in the railway millionaire Bethel Strousberg, and with the money it earned him Liebermann travelled to Paris where he had his first sight of paintings by Millet and Courbet.


  • Title: Women Plucking Geese
  • Creator: Max Liebermann
  • Date Created: 1872
  • Physical Dimensions: w172.0 x h118.0 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Technique and material: Oil on canvas
  • Inv.-No.: A I 524
  • ISIL-No.: DE-MUS-815114
  • External link: Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Copyrights: Text: © Prestel Verlag / Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Photo: © b p k - Photo Agency / Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Andres Kilger
  • 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

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