Liebermann’s birches

Two months ago I stood in front of this:


Max Liebermann, Der Garten des Künstlers, 1918

Max Liebermann, Der Garten des Künstlers (1918). Image Niedersächsisches Landesmuseum.

It was framed, of course, and hung fairly low against the red (if memory serves) backdrop of a wall at the Niedersächsisches Landesmuseum in Hannover.
The painting is one of  a series that artist Max Liebermann made of views in his own garden. This one looks back at the house, depicting the small ‘grove’ of birch trees that Liebermann left untouched while designing his garden.

An avenue in the Berliner Tiergarten. Photo HvdE, May 2012.I was immediately reminded of a similar use of trees in the path, not too far from this garden, in the Berliner Tiergarten. Here the paths are avenues and the trees oaks, but the idea is the same. The trees -probably planted post WW2- function as traffic breakers for cyclists in the park. But like the birches at the Liebermann Villa, they also block the view ahead as one is using the path. And they look like they have been spared during the layout of the path/avenue.


I know of no other examples of this form of planting, but that must be me: surely this can’t be a regional thing, bound to south-west Berlin?


The so-called ‘Hecken Garten’ (Hedge Garden) in the garden of the Liebermann Villa, is fully restored. That design was inspired by Alfred Lichtwark, the director of the Hamburger Kunsthalle and friend of Max Liebermann. Previously the restoration of that garden could not be completed because part of it was used as a path and not owned by the museum. Apparently that situation is resolved. The opening of this part of the garden is on May 11, 2014.


  1. This, apparently, is how they preserve trees on paths in Romania:

  2. There is a nice video about Liebermann’s garden by the RA in London, where there is still time to see this painting in real life:

    (via @royalacadamy on Twitter:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *