Käthe Kollwitz

Left: Self-Portrait. 1924. Woodcut. Private collection.

Right: Käthe Kollwitz. Photograph.


All Good Art is Political

Käthe Kollwitz and Sue Coe

October 26, 2017 - March 10, 2018

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 11, 2017 - October 13, 2017

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 12, 2016 - October 7, 2016

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 21, 2015 - October 16, 2015

Alternate Histories

Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Galerie St. Etienne

January 15, 2015 - April 11, 2015

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 15, 2014 - September 26, 2014

Modern Furies

The Lessons and Legacy of World War I

January 21, 2014 - April 12, 2014

* Käthe Kollwitz

The Complete Print Cycles

October 8, 2013 - December 28, 2013

Recent Acquisitions

And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market

July 9, 2013 - September 27, 2013

Face Time

Self and Identity in Expressionist Portraiture

April 9, 2013 - June 28, 2013

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 17, 2012 - October 13, 2012

The Lady and the Tramp

Images of Women in Austrian and German Art

October 11, 2011 - December 30, 2011

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 5, 2011 - September 30, 2011

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 13, 2010 - October 1, 2010

* Käthe Kollwitz

A Portrait of the Artist

April 13, 2010 - June 25, 2010

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 24, 2008 - September 26, 2008

Hope or Menace?

Communism in Germany Between the World Wars

March 25, 2008 - June 13, 2008

Transforming Reality

Pattern and Design in Modern and Self-Taught Art

January 15, 2008 - March 8, 2008

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 5, 2007 - September 28, 2007

More Than Coffee was Served

Café Culture in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna and Weimar Germany

September 19, 2006 - November 25, 2006

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 6, 2006 - September 8, 2006

* Coming of Age

Egon Schiele and the Modernist Culture of Youth

November 15, 2005 - January 7, 2006

Recent Acquisitions

And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market

June 7, 2005 - September 9, 2005

Every Picture Tells a Story

The Narrative Impulse in Modern and Contemporary Art

April 5, 2005 - May 27, 2005

65th Anniversary Exhibition, Part I

Austrian and German Expressionism

October 28, 2004 - January 8, 2005

Sue Coe: Bully: Master of the Global Merry-Go-Round and Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 8, 2004 - October 16, 2004

Body and Soul

Expressionism and the Human Figure

October 7, 2003 - January 3, 2004

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 24, 2003 - September 12, 2003

* Käthe Kollwitz:

Master Printmaker

October 1, 2002 - January 4, 2003

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 25, 2002 - September 20, 2002

Workers of the World

Modern Images of Labor

April 2, 2002 - June 15, 2002

The "Black-and-White" Show

Expressionist Graphics in Austria & Germany

September 20, 2001 - November 10, 2001

Recent Acquisitions (And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 26, 2001 - September 7, 2001

Art with an Agenda

Politics, Persuasion, Illustration and Decoration

April 10, 2001 - June 16, 2001

The Tragedy of War

November 16, 2000 - January 6, 2001

The Expressionist City

September 19, 2000 - November 4, 2000

Recent Acquisitions (And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 20, 2000 - September 8, 2000

From Façade to Psyche

Turn-of-the-Century Portraiture in Austria & Germany

March 28, 2000 - June 10, 2000

Saved From Europe

In Commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of the Galerie St. Etienne

November 6, 1999 - January 8, 2000

The Modern Child

(Images of Children in Twentieth-Century Art)

September 14, 1999 - November 6, 1999

Recent Acquisitions

(And a Look at Sixty Years of Art Dealing)

June 15, 1999 - September 3, 1999

* Becoming Käthe Kollwitz

An Artist and Her Influences

November 17, 1998 - December 31, 1998

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts About Looted Art)

June 9, 1998 - September 11, 1998

Recent Acquisitions

A Question of Quality

June 10, 1997 - September 5, 1997

Käthe Kollwitz - Lea Grundig

Two German Women & The Art of Protest

March 25, 1997 - May 31, 1997

Breaking All The Rules

Art in Transition

June 11, 1996 - September 6, 1996

From Left to Right

Social Realism in Germany and Russia, Circa 1919-1933

September 19, 1995 - November 4, 1995

Recent Acquisitions

June 20, 1995 - September 8, 1995

On the Brink 1900-2000

The Turning of Two Centuries

March 28, 1995 - May 26, 1995

Three Berlin Artists of the Weimar Era: Hannah Höch, Käthe Kollwitz, Jeanne Mam

September 13, 1994 - November 5, 1994

Art and Politics in Weimar Germany

September 14, 1993 - November 6, 1993

Recent Acquisitions

June 8, 1993 - September 3, 1993

The Dance of Death

Images of Mortality in German Art

January 19, 1993 - March 13, 1993

* Käthe Kollwitz

In Celebration of the 125th Anniversary of the Artist's Birth

September 15, 1992 - November 7, 1992

Scandal, Outrage, Censorship

Controversy in Modern Art

January 21, 1992 - March 7, 1992

The Expressionist Figure

September 10, 1991 - November 9, 1991

Recent Acquisitions

Themes and Variations

May 14, 1991 - August 16, 1991

Recent Acquisitions

June 12, 1990 - August 31, 1990

Max Klinger, Käthe Kollwitz, Alfred Kubin

A Study in Influences

March 27, 1990 - June 2, 1990

The Narrative in Art

January 23, 1990 - March 17, 1990

The Galerie St. Etienne

A History in Documents and Pictures

June 20, 1989 - September 8, 1989

Fifty Years Galerie St. Etienne: An Overview

February 14, 1989 - April 1, 1989

Recent Acquisitions and Works From the Collection

June 14, 1988 - September 16, 1988

Three Pre-Expressionists

Lovis Corinth Käthe Kollwitz Paula Modersohn-Becker

January 26, 1988 - March 12, 1988

* Käthe Kollwitz

The Power of the Print

November 17, 1987 - January 16, 1988

Recent Acquisitions and Works From the Collection

April 7, 1987 - October 31, 1987

Käthe Kollwitz/Paula Modersohn-Becker

January 28, 1986 - March 15, 1986

The Art of Giving

December 3, 1985 - January 18, 1986

Expressionists on Paper

October 8, 1985 - November 23, 1985

Expressionist Printmaking

Aspects of its Genesis and Development

April 1, 1985 - May 24, 1985

Early and Late

Drawings, Paintings & Prints from Academicism to Expressionism

June 1, 1983 - September 2, 1983

* Käthe Kollwitz

The Artist as Printmaker

September 28, 1982 - November 6, 1982

Aspects of Modernism

June 1, 1982 - September 3, 1982

The Human Perspective

Recent Acquisitions

March 16, 1982 - May 15, 1982

* Kollwitz: The Drawing and The Print

May 1, 1980 - June 10, 1980

* Käthe Kollwitz

December 1, 1976

* Käthe Kollwitz

February 3, 1971

* Käthe Kollwitz

In the Cause of Humanity

October 23, 1967

* Käthe Kollwitz

May 1, 1965

Group Show

October 15, 1962

* Käthe Kollwitz

November 11, 1961

* Käthe Kollwitz

December 14, 1959

European and American Expressionists

September 22, 1959

* Käthe Kollwitz

January 12, 1959

* Käthe Kollwitz

April 16, 1956

* Käthe Kollwitz

October 25, 1951

* Tenth Anniversary Exhibition

Part I

November 30, 1949

* Käthe Kollwitz


October 18, 1948

* Käthe Kollwitz

October 4, 1947

* Käthe Kollwitz

Memorial Exhibition

November 21, 1945

* Käthe Kollwitz

Part II

October 26, 1944

* Käthe Kollwitz

Part I

November 3, 1943

Saved from Europe

Masterpieces of European Art

July 1, 1940


The Complete Print Cycles

October 8, 2013 - December 28, 2013




Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945) created 99 etchings, 133 lithographs, 42 woodcuts, 19 extant sculptures and roughly 1,450 drawings in a career that spanned over half a century, but she is best known for her five print cycles: Revolt of the Weavers (1893-98), Peasant War (1902-08), War (1921-22), Proletariat (1924-25) and Death (1934-37). The artist first came to public attention when Revolt of the Weavers was exhibited at the Great Berlin Art Exhibition in 1898, and her reputation was cemented with the publication of Peasant War in 1908. While her forthright depictions of Germany’s oppressed underclass remained controversial throughout the reign of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Kollwitz flourished in the more liberal climate of the Weimar Republic, receiving wide acclaim for her woodcut series, War and Proletariat, and benefiting from reprints of the two earlier cycles. Death, produced under the harsh constraints of Nazi rule, concluded a lifelong dialogue with the subject.


Due to their remarkable range of themes, techniques and styles, the print cycles have earned Kollwitz a place among the foremost female artists of the twentieth century, and recognition as one of the great printmakers of all time. Like other successful women artists of her generation, she was an outlier. The dominant artistic movement of her time and place—Expressionism—was decisively masculine in its orientation. Kollwitz did not belong to this or any other group. Her extraordinary career was made possible by the fortuitous convergence of three trends: the revival of printmaking as a significant art form in Germany; the incipient emancipation of women; and growing support for a more egalitarian social order.


Germany boasted an exemplary printmaking tradition dating back to Albrecht Dürer, but since his time prints had been used chiefly as illustrations and to reproduce works conceived in other mediums. Although the Romantics in the early nineteenth century made an attempt to employ prints for more creative purposes, it was Max Klinger who did the most to revive printmaking as an artistic endeavor in its own right. In his highly influential 1891 treatise Malerei und Zeichnung (Painting and Drawing), Klinger posited that drawing (by which he meant all black-and-white art forms, including prints) was more conducive to the expression of ideas and imaginative fantasies than painting. He insisted that artists engage directly with the printmaking process, rather than assigning the preparation of the plate, stone or block to a technician. Most important, Klinger’s own print cycles served as a model for other artists while simultaneously stimulating the market for such works. A print cycle could be used to depict a narrative sequence of events, or to assemble a body of images more loosely related to a common topic. Kollwitz would use the first approach for Revolt of the Weavers and Peasant War, and the second in her later print series.


Klinger’s prints, though exploring symbolic themes that verged on the surreal, were conventionally realistic in style. For the younger Expressionist generation, however, printmaking became integral to the search for a new language of form. The Expressionists’ revolutionary innovations, which won little support from official institutions or the aristocracy, appealed to the more liberal bourgeoisie. Prints were a way to reach this broad class of collectors by offering original art at attractive prices. The Brücke group directed their own marketing efforts through the publication of an annual print portfolio, and most German dealers in modern art also published prints. Nonetheless, despite their aesthetic and technical originality, Expressionist prints were subordinate to the artists’ work in more “important” mediums like painting. Only Kollwitz made printmaking the center of her artistic practice.


As a student, Kollwitz had struggled to master painting, but she remained uncomfortable with color. Klinger, whose work and theories about monochromatic imagery resonated with her own nascent artistic goals, inspired her switch to printmaking. Her pursuit of a less conventional career path also had significant professional ramifications, for it took Kollwitz out of competition with male colleagues and allowed her to excel on her own terms. Indeed she enjoyed an exceptional degree of support from men: artists, art historians, curators, dealers, collectors, her father, Karl Schmidt, and her husband, Karl Kollwitz. The decision to marry (opposed by both Kollwitz’s father and her female art-student friends) was not an easy one for a woman artist at the time. However Karl Kollwitz was an unusual husband. He evidently loved his wife more than she did him, and as a physician ministering to the poor, he shared her humanistic ideals. Had Käthe married a fellow artist, her career would probably have been subsumed by his, and had she remained single, it is unlikely she could have survived financially. Thus she managed to avoid the pitfalls that doomed many female artists during this period.


Kollwitz’s immediate family fostered not only her creative autonomy but her socio-political outlook. Her maternal grandfather, Julius Rupp, was the leader of an evangelical sect that favored the abolition of private property and the elimination of class divisions. This proto-communistic strain of Protestantism, originating during the Reformation, acquired a sharper political focus after the 1848 revolution. Germany’s first socialist party was established in 1863. Karl Schmidt, his wife Katherina, and their children were all socialists. Käthe’s brother Konrad was a Marxist scholar whose writings were encouraged by Friedrich Engels. Karl Kollwitz, a friend of Konrad’s, held similar beliefs. But Käthe Kollwitz’s socialism was not of the theoretical sort. Her “politicization,” as she termed it, stemmed from “faith.” She depicted workers because she empathized with them, and because she found them beautiful.


As Kollwitz’s artistic philosophy began to jell, she came up with the idea of creating a print cycle based on Emile Zola’s novel Germinal. Considered Zola’s masterpiece, Germinal tells the story of a French coal miners’ strike, but Kollwitz initially chose to focus on a subplot involving a brawl between the protagonist, Étienne, and his romantic rival. She had completed two different etchings of the scene and ten related drawings when, on February 26, 1893, she attended the premiere of Gerhart Hauptmann’s play The Weavers. Deeply moved, she immediately abandoned work on Germinal and instead decided to create a print series based on the play.

Kollwitz’s Revolt of the Weavers was neither a literal illustration of Hauptmann’s drama, nor a precise documentation of the underlying historical event, which took place in Silesia in 1844. Whereas Hauptmann moves the action back and forth from the boss’s house to the weavers’ miserable hovels, and synopsizes diverse viewpoints, Kollwitz concentrates exclusively on the weavers’ plight. Expanding Hauptmann’s five acts into six vignettes, she traces a trajectory from intolerable suffering (Poverty and Death), to active rebellion (Conspiracy, Marching Weavers, Storming the Gate), to defeat (The End). She originally planned a Klinger-esque symbolist coda (From Many Wounds You Bleed, Oh People) but wisely dropped it, allowing the action to speak for itself. An unrelenting perfectionist, Kollwitz worked on the Weavers for five years, essaying the subjects repeatedly in different mediums (drawing, etching, lithography). She hoped to execute all the final prints as etchings. Dissatisfied with her command of the craft, however, she settled for a mixed series: three lithographs and three etchings. Nevertheless Revolt of the Weavers was a tour de force. In one fell swoop Kollwitz supplanted the grand academic tradition of history painting with a more effective, intimate contemporary alternative.


Kollwitz had long seen herself as a revolutionary. She fantasized in childhood about “battles on the barricades, with Father and Konrad taking part, and myself loading their rifles.” Armed insurrections like the Silesian weavers’ rebellion and the 1848 revolution were desperate responses to the economic inequities of industrial capitalism. For strategic reasons, after 1848 socialists came to believe it was also necessary to forge an alliance with the rural peasantry. The 1525 Peasant War, a revolt against feudalism that occurred in tandem with the Protestant Reformation, therefore suddenly became an important touchstone for theorists like Friedrich Engels. Working from a comprehensive history of the subject written in 1841 by Wilhelm Zimmermann, Engels published his own analysis of the sixteenth-century rebellion, which he presented as a result of the same class conflicts that sparked the 1848 uprising.


It was logical that Kollwitz, having dealt with the industrial-era proletariat in Revolt of the Weavers, should now address the peasantry. She was not, however, interested in the arcane ideology of class warfare. She was attracted to dramatic tales of oppression and revolt, like Germinal, or Hauptmann’s play or Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. She found Zimmermann’s history of the Peasant War especially compelling, because it included a female protagonist, “Black Anna.” Beyond her girlhood fantasies, Kollwitz had been pondering the role of women in revolution. In the final plate of the Weavers’ cycle, two men lie dead before their looms, while one of the wives towers above them, fists clenched in an implicit promise of revenge. In the artist’s 1899 etching Revolt, loosely based on Eugène Delacroix’s famous painting Liberty Leading the People, a nude woman takes on the traditional allegorical role of muse to the fighting men. But Black Anna was a real person, actively engaged in the peasants’ struggle for justice. In 1902 Kollwitz created an etching, Uprising, that placed Anna at the forefront, inciting the men to battle. Based on this print, the Dresden Society for Historical Art commissioned the artist to produce an entire series on the Peasant War.


Kollwitz’s Peasant War cycle, seven large etchings completed over a period of six years, follows a narrative arc similar to Revolt of the Weavers. Scenes of oppression (The Plowmen, Raped) are followed by plates depicting first the course of the rebellion (Woman with Scythe, Arming in a Vault, Uprising), and then its brutal suppression (Battlefield, The Prisoners). These vignettes, often presented from a female point of view, feel more personal than the images in the Weavers. Early, rejected versions of The Plowmen (human beings harnessed like beasts of burden) included a female witness. The direct impetus for the rebellion is a woman’s rape. And a woman comes up with the idea, realizing as she sharpens her scythe that this farm tool can also be a weapon. It is nonetheless evident that Kollwitz, now the mother of two boys, has begun to question the efficacy of violence. In Battlefield, a mother discovers her dead son on a field of corpses, and two innocent youths, bound up with the adult prisoners awaiting execution, provide a moving coda to the entire saga. These women—the victim, Black Anna, the mother—are Everywomen, and they are Kollwitz herself.


With the Peasant War cycle, Kollwitz achieved full mastery of the etching techniques that had sometimes confounded her during preparation of the Weavers plates. Having met this challenge, she grew bored with etching and began what she described as “a second life with sculpture.” Her interest in printmaking was only rekindled, at first gradually and then fiercely, by the First World War. Like most patriotic Germans, the Kollwitz family initially supported the war. Kollwitz’s sons, Hans and Peter, both enlisted. The artist was nevertheless riven by ambivalence. “How can they take part in this madness?” she wondered. But, steeped in her grandfather’s theology of sacrifice, she quickly countered, “They must, must!” Peter’s death on the Belgian front in October 1914 shook her to the very depths of her being, and then, after a protracted period of despair, launched Kollwitz on her true second life, as a committed pacifist.


Kollwitz henceforth dedicated her work to Peter and to protecting young lives, which she likened to “seeds for sowing” that should not be prematurely ground up in the mills of war. Soon after her son’s death, she began a series of drawings and lithographs on the subject of grieving parents, which would culminate in a pair of memorial sculptures for the Belgian cemetery where Peter and his comrades lay. She decided that her next print cycle would be about the war, as seen not from the battlefield but from the home front. She complemented her lithograph of The Parents with etchings and lithographs of The Mothers and The Widow. Typically, she was not satisfied with any of them. Then, in the summer of 1920, she saw an exhibition of Ernst Barlach’s woodcuts at the Berlin “Freie Secession” and was completely bowled over. Though slightly intimidated at the prospect of learning an entirely new craft, Kollwitz decided to execute War as woodcuts.


The first plate in the War series is The Sacrifice, alluding to the imperative foisted upon mothers by nationalistic propaganda. Boys may go into battle with their eyes open—as did Peter, portrayed to the far left of the troops in The Volunteers—but their true leader is none other than death itself. Kollwitz’s woodcut renditions of The Mothers and The Parents have a monumentality akin to that of her sculptures, and more graphic force than her etchings or lithographs. The artist is now interested in iconic figures that project strong emotional states, rather than in complex narrative scenarios. There is no real story in the War cycle, other perhaps than that of The Widow, who is first depicted pregnant and in a second version lies stricken beneath her dead child. The series ends with The People, a shattered group of survivors who implicitly beg the powers that be never again to subject them to such agony. Though the War imagery had been gestating since 1914, when she got down to it Kollwitz produced the seven woodcuts in roughly a year.


Kollwitz’s pacifism complicated her political position during the turbulent 1920s. With Germany’s imperial regime in ruins at the end of 1918, the more radical members of the Socialist Party (SPD) had broken off to establish the German Communist Party (KPD). It quickly became evident that the SPD was hopelessly compromised by its ties to the old ruling class and military, but Kollwitz resisted joining the Communists. “My childhood dream of dying on the barricades will hardly be fulfilled,” she mused, “because I should hardly mount a barricade now that I know what they are like in reality.” Refusing to take sides in the ideological squabbles that ebbed and flowed around her, Kollwitz resumed, with renewed vigor, her role as an advocate for humanitarian causes. She did a number of posters drawing attention to the suffering that lingered throughout war-ravaged Europe. One of these, Vienna Is Dying! Save Its Children! became the basis for her subsequent woodcut Hunger. Along with the woodcuts Unemployed and Infant Mortality, Hunger was included in the artist’s fourth print cycle, Proletariat. These three stark images offer a blistering indictment of Germany’s ostensibly socialist government, which had done little to ameliorate the poverty of the working class.


Kollwitz reached the peak of her professional success in the 1920s. In 1919 (the same year that German women were granted the right to vote), she became the first female member of the Prussian Academy. Her sixtieth birthday in 1927 was marked by widespread publicity and exhibitions, including a retrospective at the Berlin Kupferstichkabinett. The following year, she was appointed to lead the Academy’s master class in graphics. But by 1933, the worldwide economic Depression and the intractable disagreements between the SPD and the KPD had allowed Hitler to assume power. Kollwitz, who had signed a petition urging unity within the left, was forced to resign from the Academy. Although she was never physically threatened, her ability to work and exhibit was hereafter severely curtailed. Without her Academy studio, it was difficult to create large sculptures, so in 1934 the artist began work on a final print cycle, Death.


Death had haunted Kollwitz from the outset. Three of her siblings died in infancy, and her mother’s suppressed pain cast a long shadow. Prior to the discovery of penicillin, childhood was a fragile state, especially for the poor who lacked adequate nutrition and medical care. After Hans survived a serious case of diphtheria in 1902, the artist created several secular versions of the Pietà, chillingly using little Peter as her model for the dead child. The skeletal image of “Death,” referencing an allegorical tradition with numerous German antecedents, became a stock figure in her work. In 1910-11 she created a group of prints in which “Death” comes between a mother and her offspring, taking alternately the one or the other. It was around this time that Kollwitz first considered doing a Death series. But it was only in old age that the artist finally felt prepared to tackle the theme in a way that would, as she put it, “plumb the depths.”


Ever the perfectionist, Kollwitz was initially dissatisfied with the progress of her Death cycle. Reviewing her previous work on the topic, she no longer felt the same urgency, and she feared she had nothing new to say. “At the very point when death becomes visible behind everything, it disrupts the imaginative process,” she observed. In fact Kollwitz was no longer afraid of death; at times she yearned for it. The belief that death could, under some circumstances, be a welcome release was first expressed in the 1920-21 woodcut Woman in the Lap of Death, inspired by a cousin’s suicide. “Death” here embraces the woman gently. Her crown of thorns has dropped to her side, and she is at peace. The image is reprised in plate 2 of the Death cycle, Girl in the Lap of Death.


Gradually Kollwitz worked through her earlier “Death” iconography, simplifying and refining it. The 1920 Vienna poster was transformed into Death Seizes the Children, while a 1910 etching, Death and Woman, morphed into the harrowing Death Seizes the Woman. But unlike much of the artist’s prior work, the Death cycle is dominated by an acceptance of mortality. Death Recognized as Friend delivers the message succinctly. Death on the Highway, depicting a homeless person, lacks the sense of outrage with which Kollwitz might previously have infused such a theme. Most striking are the first and last plates of the cycle, Woman Entrusts Herself to Death and Call of Death, which depicts Kollwitz herself, ready to face the end. Executed in transfer lithography, a process so easy the artist once remarked it was “hardly a technique at all,” the eight Death prints are her most direct and personal statements on the subject.


Kollwitz once likened her life’s work to “the development of a piece of music. The fugues come back and interweave again and again. A theme may seem to have been put aside, but it keeps returning—the same thing in a somewhat changed and modulated form, and usually richer.” Kollwitz’s principal themes—motherhood and death—give a distinctly feminine twist to the Freudian concepts of Eros and Thanatos. In some respects, Kollwitz seems to have accepted Freud’s then-common view that a “normal” woman sublimates her professional and sexual desires in childbearing. (That may be why she characterized her artistic ambitions as “masculine” and hid her erotic drawings.) On the other hand, unlike Freud, Kollwitz did not see the Eros/Thanatos dichotomy as a zero-sum game. She believed that, as creatures of conscience, we have the ability to choose life. Her pairing of motherhood with death was a plea to abolish war and oppression for the sake of the children, who embody the future of humankind.


We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to Helen Engelhardt, Dr. Brian McCrindle, Dr. Richard Simms and several anonymous collectors, whose generous loans made this exhibition possible.