Jewish art Swiss government gives disputed Liebermann painting to Berlin museum
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Jewish art Swiss government gives disputed Liebermann painting to Berlin museum

Swiss ambassador to Germany Paul Seger (left) shakes hands with Hans Gerhard Hannesen, head of the Max Liebermann Gesellschaft (centre), as Villa Liebermann museum director Daniel Spanke looks on. The Swiss government has donated a painting by German Jewish artist Max Liebermann to the museum in his former home in Berlin, after years of dispute over who owns it and whether Switzerland has the right to give it away. The 1923 painting, “Grosse Seestrasse,” depicts the road lined with oak trees near the villa on Berlin’s Wannsee lake where Liebermann spent his summers, a scene he painted about a dozen times. For decades, it hung in the office of the Swiss ambassador in Berlin – but no one could quite remember how it got there. “It was only in the 1990s that we found out that this painting was bought privately,” Paul Seger, the Swiss ambassador to Germany, said in a handover ceremony at the Villa Liebermann. The painting was purchased at the Berlin auction house Leo Spik in 1948 by Francois de Diesbach, at that time the top Swiss diplomat in Germany. De Diesbach hung it in his office. The year after the purchase, he died in a […]

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