Purchased in the 1920s by the grandfather of the present owner; thence by descent
New York, Galerie St. Etienne, Max Liebermann, 1944, no. 11 (as Horseback Riders - Reiter am Strande)
Zwei Reiter am Strand was probably executed in Liebermann's studio in Berlin, following several studies made during the autumn and winter of 1901 on the Dutch coast at Scheveningen. The riders are in casual riding attire, crossing the beach of the seaside resort; the horse in the foreground trots placidly on the sand while the other prances skittishly, avoiding the waves.
The present work relates closely to another painting of the same title and year shown at the Berlin Secession exhibiton (Matthias Eberle, Max Liebermann. Werkverzeichnis der Gemälde und Ölstudien 1865-1899, Munich, 1995, no. 1901/14).
The description of the scene by an anonymous critic applies to both works: '... They are two riders from the Circus Schumann, which is open all summer in Scheveningen. The horses are trained every morning on the beach, as the soft sand makes a great riding runway – It is thus a mundane activity which has been upgraded by the artist's hand. The whole picture is full of life and dynamism: the morning light surrounding the horses, the white-tipped waves, the cool breeze that plays with the horses' manes' ('Zu unseren Bildern', Berliner Architekturwelt, 1902, issue 9, p. 330).
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