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Biographical/Historical Information

Albert Einstein was a Nobel Prize Winning physicist born in Ulm, Germany in 1879. He completed his secondary education in Switzerland, during which period he renounced his citzenship of Württemberg to avoid military service. He met his first wife, Mileva Marić, while attending Zürich Polytechnic. The couple married in 1903 and had two sons, Hans Albert and Eduard, before divorcing in 1919. That same year, Einstein married his cousin, Elsa Löwenthal, and adopted her two daughters (Margot and Ilse). The Einsteins were visiting the U.S. in 1933 when the Nazis rose to power. He and Elsa waited until the end of his visiting professorship at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena before traveling to Belgium to renounce their citizenship at the German consulate. Upon his return to the United States, Einstein began teaching at Princeton University. During World War II, Einstein worked on the Manhattan Project. He became a U.S. citizen in 1940. Aside from his scientific contributions, Einstein traveled the world, played violin, and was an avid— though unskilled—sailor. He also supported Zionism, socialism, and civil rights. Einstein died in Princeton, New Jersey in 1955 from a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm. His brain was removed during the autopsy and used for research, while the rest of his remains were cremated.

Max Liebermann, born in Berlin in 1847, trained in Weimar before continuing to study in Amsterdam and Paris, where he was influenced by Courbet, Millet, and the Barbizon School. Liebermann returned to Germany in 1878 and continued painting in the Impressionist style, founding the movement in his native country. In 1899, he helped found the Berlin Secession. He was a very influential figure in German art and was the dominant figure until the emergence of avant-garde art. He was the president of the Prussian Academy of Arts but resigned in 1933 when Jews were forbidden to paint.

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Liebermann, Max: Portrait of Albert Einstein, Leo Baeck Institute, 79.426.