Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945); Begrüssung ;

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Lot 1
Käthe Kollwitz
(1867-1945)
Begrüssung

Sold for US$ 625 inc. premium
Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945)
Begrüssung (K. 10; Kn. 13 IIf), 1892
Etching and aquatint on watermarked Zanders laid paper, Knesebeck's second state 'f' (of 2), from the 1918 edition published by Seemann-Verlag, Leipzig, signed in pencil, with full margins.
4 3/4 x 3 1/2in
sheet 9 1/2 x 7in

Footnotes

  • Born in what is now Kaliningrad, Russia, painter, sculptor, and printmaker Kathe Kollwitz spent her active years in Germany, working prolifically in the time between World War I and World War II. During the course of her career, Kollwitz produced an important body of work that exists as a searing commentary on the horrors of war. Largely an opus of political criticism and self-appraisal, her works, including 275 etchings, woodcuts, and lithographs, serve as psychological milestones in the life of a woman whose existence was ravaged by political conflict.

    The loss of her youngest son, Peter, on a Belgian battlefield in World War I, and a grandson, also named Peter, who was killed on the Russian Front in 1942, prompted a prolonged period of suffering in her life, which manifested profoundly in her artwork. A committed socialist and pacifist, Kollwitz captured the heartbreak of war and its devastating bi-products in emotionally penetrating tableaus that can only be described as wrenching; a mother searching for her dead child in field, hungry children begging for bread, an old woman succumbing to death, parents kneeling at the grave of their son. All of them meant to bring to the forefront the real cost of conflict.

    With Hitler's rise to power in 1936, Kollwitz, the first elected female member of the Prussian Academy of the Arts, was expelled. She was barred from exhibiting her work, which was then classified as "degenerate," whilst, in adding insult to injury, some of her imagery was being used by the Nazis for propaganda purposes. By the late 1930s, already a world recognized figure, Kollwitz found herself under constant threat of arrest and deportation to a concentration camp at the hands of the Gestapo. It wasn't until her home in Berlin had been destroyed by a British airstrike (along with a trove of her artwork), that she was safely evacuated. Kollwitz lived out the final months of her life in Moritzburg, as the guest of Prince Heinrich of Saxony. A widow, she died only 16 days before the end of World War II, in April of 1945.

    Today, Kollwitz's legacy is alive and well, as is her sobering plea for peace and love. Three museums solely dedicated to her artwork exist in Berlin, Cologne, and Moritzburg, and there are over 40 German schools that exist in her name, and in her honor. The following special selection of prints by Kathe Kollwitz represents fine examples of some of her most important graphic work.
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