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


(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 13, 2010 - October 1, 2010


Beckmann, Max

Dix, Otto

Feininger, Lyonel

Grosz, George

Grundig, Lea

Heckel, Erich

Hirshfield, Morris

Kirchner, Ernst Ludwig

Klee, Paul

Klimt, Gustav

Kollwitz, Käthe

Moses, Anna Mary Robertson ("Grandma")

Nolde, Emil

Pechstein, Hermann Max

Schiele, Egon



The “Great Recession” has officially ended, and auctions are again breaking records, but the excesses of the past decade continue to cast a shadow over the future. Those excesses, which we now know relied largely on fraud, obfuscation and debt, concealed underlying economic weaknesses that will not easily be healed. As income disparities grew to historic levels in the 1990s and 2000s, the illusion of an American middle class was sustained only by a combination of easy credit and comparatively affordable consumer goods. Yet the same factors—automation and production in low-wage countries—that made consumer goods affordable, gradually robbed much of the middle class of its livelihood. The art world had been living off the trickle-down from liquidity generated by the cost discrepancies between developed and developing countries, but when that liquidity dried up, so did the trickle.


More and more, it seems, we live in an era of winner-take-all, both within the art world and without. For a number of years now, our annual “state-of-the-market” reports have commented on the bifurcation of art values: the tendency of money to pool at the top, creating enormous gaps between the prices of works that are perceived to be extraordinary and everything else. Mirroring the income stratification seen in the economy at large, bifurcation was typical of the bubble years (roughly 2004 through 2007), and it remains a factor in the current downturn. For some dealers, this recession has been a breeze compared to the protracted slowdown of the early 1990s, or even the short-lived pall that followed 9/11. Others have sold almost nothing in over a year. The more successful dealers play musical chairs with Chelsea gallery spaces vacated by bankrupt former competitors. At art fairs, it is feast or famine: only the better fairs and the better dealers with the better material do well. We have experienced a true, visceral contraction, and the market is simply no longer large enough to sustain its former sales volume. But the buyers who remain, who have money, still want the best. To succeed, a dealer must aim to be in the 95th percentile or higher. There is little margin for error in pricing, choice of art sold or art fairs participated in. Below the cut-off point, business evaporates.


More than ever, buyers today want major, recognizable works by internationally established masters. In an increasingly globalized environment, it is important that an artist be as renowned in Moscow or Abu Dhabi as he (or, far less frequently, she) is in New York or London. Works by artists with global reputations can more readily be used to hedge against currency fluctuations and volatile investments like stocks; such art, figuratively and perhaps literally, is as good as gold. Within this context, “masterpieces” with “wall power” can command prices comparable to those of the bubble period. Nonetheless, the much-touted return of record-busting auctions has been achieved in a climate of drastically reduced presale estimates. Auctioneers have long been skilled at driving up bids by steering their wealthiest clients to the same handful of lots and employing estimates to manipulate public expectations. The terms used to judge the success of a given sale are set largely by the auction house itself, rather than by any objective measure. Blockbusters aside, the latest Impressionist/Modern evening sales reflected a welcome stabilization of the market, but at significantly lower values than might have been realized three years ago. A shrunken market has compelled auctioneers and dealers alike to reduce prices.


For some observers, the semi-annual auction sales are the closest thing the art world has to a stock exchange; the only way to publicly gauge the art market’s strength. However, during an economic contraction, auction is not necessarily the best way to value or sell art. The top lots on offer in a given season quickly suck up all the available resources, while lots that, for whatever reason, fail to generate the necessary salesroom buzz languish. In the less glamorous Impressionist/Modern day sales, the unsold rate has lately hovered around 50%. Even at the nighttime sales, the critical mass of potential buyers necessary to spark competitive bidding is often missing. Unless or until prices start to rise across the board, auction will present a risky bet for sellers. A given auction result, far from reflecting the market as a whole, merely provides a snapshot of a single moment in time, very much dependent on such vagaries as other simultaneously available lots and the presence or absence of key bidders.


There was a time, beyond the memory and experience of many art-world players today, when auctions were chiefly wholesale operations. The majority of buyers then were dealers, who provided essential liquidity by holding their purchases until such time as the art could be absorbed into a comparatively small market. Dealers also provided value-added in the form of knowledge that was generally superior to that of auction-house personnel. A. Alfred Taubman, the shopping-mall magnate who bought Sotheby’s in 1983, is usually credited with transforming auctioneering into a retail business, though Christie’s quickly followed suit. However, the transformation was never entirely complete; there were always sales categories (prints, for example) where auction results remained closer to wholesale than retail. In some respects, auctions are now reverting to their wholesale function. This is due not only to market shrinkage, but to the auctioneers themselves, whose neglect of lower-priced lots can leave potential retail buyers floundering.


These days, it is often dealers who make the market: picking up the slack at auction and providing sellers with more reliable returns on their art. Competent dealers are able to thread their way through the schizophrenic atmosphere created by record prices and high buy-in rates at auction and to accurately value works of art based on aesthetic quality, the potential supply of comparable material and collector demand. In this way, dealers can provide a necessary corrective to the excesses of the bubble years, suggesting a rational alternate pricing paradigm. It remains to be seen whether an eventual economic recovery will produce a resurgence of top-heavy aggressive bidding. For now, most speculators have been driven from the field by declining prices, and committed collectors are reaping the benefits. If there is a silver lining to the art market’s grey cloud, it is that periods of retrenchment encourage a return to the fundamentals of connoisseurship.


On the other hand, the ongoing stock-market gyrations, European debt problems and concomitant drop in the euro indicate that the financial crisis has not yet run its course. Beyond subprime mortgages and deceptive derivatives, the crisis had its roots in a massive economic shift that has dispersed corporate interests across the world, eroding the authority of traditional nation-states and leaving many individual citizens caught in the undertow. The tea-party movement in the United States, the street protests in Athens, the schoolroom murders in China and the riots in Bangkok all involve people who feel displaced by the new global economic order. Within the art world, too, many people—artists, collectors, dealers—are being left behind. Certain segments of the art market simply will not be coming back, just as portions of the American economy will not recover from the “Great Recession.” Economists blithely call it “creative destruction,” but it is destruction nonetheless.


Founded in the waning years of the Great Depression, the Galerie St. Etienne has a long-term perspective on the economic and cultural vicissitudes that influence our profession. During the 2009-10 season, our gallery passed a number of major milestones. Last November, we celebrated the gallery's 70th anniversary with an ambitious loan show, “Egon Schiele: The Artist as Printmaker.” A treat for print connoisseurs and Schiele fans alike, ours was the first in-depth examination ever of this little-known aspect of the Austrian master’s oeuvre. Then, in early 2010, we commemorated the 70th anniversary of the “discovery” of Grandma Moses by the gallery’s founder, Otto Kallir, with another major loan exhibition. Finally, we concluded the spring season by honoring the Galerie St. Etienne’s current co-director, Hildegard Bachert, who has been working here since the autumn of 1940. To mark the 70th year of her tenure, Ms. Bachert curated a show of her favorite artist, Käthe Kollwitz. The Käthe Kollwitz Museum in Cologne, which itself is celebrating the 25th year of its existence, and three important private collectors in Switzerland and the U.S., joined forces with the Galerie St. Etienne on this momentous project. “Käthe Kollwitz: A Portrait of the Artist” focused on the autobiographical core of Kollwitz’s achievement, as revealed in her self-portraits and related works.


As is traditional, our summer exhibition draws from the past season’s offerings, augmenting them with new acquisitions. Accordingly, our present inventories of works by Schiele, Grandma Moses and Kollwitz provide an especially rich array of choices. Highlights include Schiele's strong triple self-portrait, Seers, from 1913, a stunning 1917 watercolor portrait of his patron, Heinrich Benesch, and two spectacular "red" nudes from the artist's breakthrough Expressionist period in early 1910. Such top-quality works by Schiele have been scarce at auction recently, and the same is true of paintings by Grandma Moses. Our new Moses acquisitions include a pair of unusually large works, Cambridge Valley and Cambridge Valley in Winter, as well as several high-quality smaller paintings (sought-after by collectors because good, reasonably priced Moseses are hard to come by): March 3, See the Kite, Better Going Over the Hill and June. Our recent Kollwitz show focused on self-portraits, leaving us with a good selection of these, which we have supplemented with rare prints, such as March Cemetery, and drawings.


The Galerie St. Etienne's 70th-anniversary installations at the ADAA Art Show (in March) and Art Basel (in June) paired Egon Schiele with his mentor, Gustav Klimt. As a result, we have an exceptionally fine group of available drawings by Klimt, another artist whose better works have lately been scarce at auction. Recent acquisitions by German Expressionists include drawings and watercolors by Lyonel Feininger, E.L. Kirchner and Emil Nolde. The Weimar era is represented by five choice George Grosz drawings, two seldom-seen early Otto Dix etchings, War Cripples and The Billiard Players, and three stunning Max Beckmann self-portraits. In the category of self-taught art, our Moses paintings are supplemented by two large drawings (one a triptych) by Morris Hirshfield. It is evident that Hirshfield, trained as a tailor, made such studies (similar to dress patterns) for all his paintings, but relatively few of these drawings survive. Our Recent Acquisitions exhibition thus includes a wide variety of top-level material, in a range of prices.


Hildegard Bachert's Memoir (26 illustrations; 48 pages; paper), published to commemorate her 70th year at the Galerie St. Etienne, may be purchased for $15.00, plus $5.00 shipping and handling; New York residents, please add sales tax. Checklist entries are accompanied by their catalogue raisonné numbers, where applicable. Unless otherwise indicated, image sizes are given for the prints, sheet sizes for all other works; height precedes width.