Ferdinand Liebermann

Biographical information

Full nameFerdinand•Liebermann
Used nameFerdinand•Liebermann
Born15 January 1883 in Judenbach, Föritztal, Thüringen (GER)
Died28 November 1941 in München (Munich), Bayern (GER)
NOC Germany


Ferdinand Liebermann was the son of a toy manufacturer and received his first instructions in figure carving from his father. In 1897-99 he attended the industrial school in Sonneberg. He then studied at the Arts-and-Crafts School and the Academy of Fine Arts, both in Munich.

In 1905, Liebermann participated for the first time in the exhibition at the Glass Palace. From 1908-22 he worked primarily for the Rosenthal Porcelain Manufactory in Selb. He also created large sculptures such as fountain figures and monuments, as well as portrait busts, especially female nude figures. After 1925 his only study trip took him to Roma, Napoli, and Paris. In 1910, he was awarded the large gold Austrian State Medal and the Belgian Prix d’Honneur and in 1926 he was awarded the title of professor.

In 1933 Liebermann became a member of the Nazi Party (NSDAP). His application for a teaching position at the Technical University in Munich was rejected. He turned down an offer to become the director of an academy in Tehran. Adolf Hitler then arranged that Liebermann was appointed councilor of the so-called “capital of the movement” (München) in 1935 and advised the City Council on cultural matters. After 1933, Liebermann created numerous busts, including probably some of Hitler, which were placed in public buildings such as München City Hall. In 1939, the bust of Nazi theorist and ideologue Alfred Rosenberg (1893-1946) was created. In 1937-41 Liebermann executed a commission for a Freikorps monument, his last major project. In 1945, it was removed by American troops.

On the one hand, Liebermann was well-known as a designer for Rosenthal, being the first to model genre figures and dominating the company’s program in 1910-13 with his inventions in this genre. Of the more than sixty objects he created for Rosenthal alone, the fairy-tale figures, dancers, and fauns are based on Art Nouveau and Art Deco.

After 1933 Liebermann became Hitler’s sculptor, whose busts were cast in large numbers. His portraits of women, including those created before 1933, corresponded to the views of the Nazis in terms of artistic conception and content. This explains his success and earned him commissions such as the larger-than-life male figure Wehrhaft (Valiant, 1934) from the War Graves Commission, but also of the bust of Geli Raubal (1908-1931), Hitler’s favorite niece, who died by suicide.


Games Sport (Discipline) / Event NOC / Team Phase Unit Role As
1936 Summer Olympics Art Competitions GER Ferdinand Liebermann
Sculpturing, Medals, Open (Olympic) Final Standings Judge
Sculpturing, Reliefs, Open (Olympic) Final Standings Judge
Sculpturing, Statues, Open (Olympic) Final Standings Judge