Kathe Kollwitz (1867 - 1945) created this important etching in 1910. Poignant and powerful, the image shows a woman being captured by ‘death’ from behind as her naked child clings to her.
Kathe Kollwitz is one of the most important German artists, her life and work spanning the 19th and 20th centuries. Believing that her art should reflect the social conditions of the times, she produced work that spoke of war, poverty, motherhood, and the working class. She was the first woman to be elected to the esteemed Prussian Academy of Arts in 1933, but was expelled with the rise of Hitler, her work labelled “degenerate” by the Nazis. As a “degenerate” artist, she was barred from exhibiting and her work was torn from gallery walls, but she was in good company with many of the greatest Modern artists also banned - Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Oskar Kokoschka, George Grosz, Max Beckmann, Marc Chagall, Max Ernst, Piet Mondrian, and many many more.
Kollwitz’s life was intimately touched by tragedy; her husband was a doctor in Berlin during the Spanish flu epidemic of the early 20th C, and she lived through both WW1 in which she lost her son Peter, and WW2 which took the life of her grandson Peter. One of her most important works is in Belgium, unveiled at the Roggevelde German war cemetery in 1932, a memorial sculpture dedicated to her son Peter who was killed nearby in 1914 - it took 18 years for her to process her grief sufficiently to be able to create the work, a sculpture of two parents grieving the loss of their child.
The images created by Kollwitz have great power, they are grand on an emotional scale. Her work speaks to us all, honoring our common humanity. A timely message.
CONDITION - This etching is a strong, clear impression, and an excellent display of Kollwitz's skill as an etcher, using dry point, aqua tint, and soft-ground techniques on wove paper. The print is unsigned (although it is signed in the plate), published by A. von der Becke, Munich, 1963-1972, and bares the blind stamp of printer Felsing's address. The margins are wide and it appears to be the full sheet although I have not opened the frame. There is one soft crease in the lower margin right side that does not extend to the image. Framed and ready to hang, the frame shows some wear. Measures 27 ½” (H) x 26” (W) overall. The sight size measures 23” (H) x 21 ½” (W). The plate impression measures 17 ¾” (H) x 17 ½” (W). Weighs 9 lbs. 5 oz. framed.
An opportunity to own an important work by a woman who was an unfailing champion of the common people, and one of the great artists of the 20th C.
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