gse_menu_B1

 

Käthe Kollwitz

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

Right: Käthe Kollwitz. Photograph.

EXHIBITIONS (*INDICATES SOLO EXHIBITION)

All Good Art is Political

October 26, 2017 - February 10, 2018


All Good Art is Political

Käthe Kollwitz and Sue Coe

October 26, 2017 - February 10, 2018


IFPDA Print Fair 2017

October 26, 2017 - October 29, 2017


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 11, 2017 - October 13, 2017


Recent Acquisitions

July 11, 2017 - October 13, 2017


Art Basel 2017

June 15, 2017 - June 18, 2017


ADAA Art Show 2017

March 1, 2017 - March 5, 2017


IFPDA Print Fair 2016

November 3, 2016 - November 6, 2016


IFPDA Print Fair 2016

November 3, 2016 - November 6, 2016


Recent Acquisitions

July 12, 2016 - October 7, 2016


Recent Acquisitions

July 12, 2016 - October 7, 2016


Art Basel 2016

June 16, 2016 - June 19, 2016


ADAA Art Show 2016

March 1, 2016 - March 6, 2016


IFPDA Print Fair 2015

November 4, 2015 - November 8, 2015


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 21, 2015 - October 16, 2015


Recent Acquisitions

July 21, 2015 - October 16, 2015


Art Basel 2015

June 17, 2015 - June 21, 2015


ADAA Art Show 2015

March 3, 2015 - March 8, 2015


Alternate Histories

Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Galerie St. Etienne

January 15, 2015 - April 11, 2015


Alternate Histories

January 15, 2015 - April 11, 2015


IFPDA Print Fair 2014

November 5, 2014 - November 9, 2014


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 15, 2014 - September 26, 2014


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 15, 2014 - September 26, 2014


Art Basel 2014

June 19, 2014 - June 22, 2014


ADAA: The Art Show 2014

March 5, 2014 - March 9, 2014


Modern Furies

The Lessons and Legacy of World War I

January 21, 2014 - April 12, 2014


* Modern Furies

The Lessons and Legacy of World War I

January 21, 2014 - April 12, 2014


IFPDA Print Fair 2013

November 6, 2013 - November 12, 2013


* Käthe Kollwitz

The Complete Print Cycles

October 8, 2013 - December 28, 2013


* Käthe Kollwitz

The Complete Print Cycles

October 8, 2013 - December 28, 2013


Recent Acquisitions

July 9, 2013 - September 27, 2013


Recent Acquisitions

And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market

July 9, 2013 - September 27, 2013


Art Basel 2013

Galerie St. Etienne, Hall 2.0, Booth D11

June 13, 2013 - June 16, 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

Masterworks

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 "BLACK-AND-WHITE" SHOW

Expressionist Graphics in Austria & Germany

September 20, 2001 - November 10, 2001

ARTISTS

Barlach, Ernst

Beckmann, Max

Campendonk, Heinrich

Corinth, Lovis

Dix, Otto

Feininger, Lyonel

Heckel, Erich

Jansen, Franz M.

Kandinsky, Vasily

Kirchner, Ernst Ludwig

Klinger, Max

Kokoschka, Oskar

Kollwitz, Käthe

Kubin, Alfred

Kurzweil, Maximillian

Liebermann, Max

Modersohn-Becker, Paula

Mueller, Otto

Nolde, Emil

Orlik, Emil

Pechstein, Hermann Max

Schaefler, Fritz

Schiele, Egon

Schmidt-Rottluff, Karl

Vogeler, Heinrich

 

ESSAY

The present exhibition takes its subject from the Schwarz-Weiss Ausstellung (Black-and-White Exhibition), a staple of the German and Austrian art scene in the early decades of the twentieth century. Many more recent exhibitions and studies have highlighted the centrality of printmaking to Expressionism, but the Schwarz-Weiss Ausstellung differed from these comparatively academic efforts in that it had a broader sweep and enjoyed greater input from the artists themselves. In its original incarnation, the "Black-and-White Show" usually included drawings as well as prints and, despite its name, comprised colored as well as monochromatic works. While these presentations were endemic to Germany and Austria, their content was not necessarily confined to local contributions. The "International Black-and-White Exhibition" was a cost-effective way to import an array of foreign art, as well as a means of demonstrating the transnational camaraderie that characterized modernism before World War I. A Schwarz-Weiss Ausstellung did not focus on a specific style, nationality or medium, but rather on the aesthetic qualities peculiar to line and graphic expression. By endeavoring to elevate the graphic arts to the stature enjoyed by painting and sculpture, these exhibitions helped legitimize printmaking and may be held partly responsible for the preeminence enjoyed by graphics within the Expressionist canon.

 

In mid-nineteenth-century Germany, printmaking flourished as a means of mechanical reproduction but was almost never viewed as a creative medium by fine artists. Etching societies, which proliferated in England in the 1860s and subsequently became popular in Germany, helped to gradually undermine this prejudice. However, the turning point in the evolution of German printmaking came with Max Klinger, the first major artist in several generations to etch and proof his own plates. Not only were Klinger's print cycles, such as A Glove, Dramas and A Life, models of their kind, they illustrated a creative philosophy that was to reverberate among artists for decades to come. In his seminal 1891 treatise, Malerei und Zeichnung (Painting and Drawing), Klinger argued for the unique role--separate but equal--of drawing and graphic expression among the various arts. Painting and color are suited to the replication of observed reality, he wrote, while drawing and printmaking are best reserved for fantasy and ideas. Painting, in this view, was almost vulgar, leaving nothing to the imagination, while black-and-white art allowed access to a much wider realm of thoughts and feelings. Klinger's theories in essence paved the way for the Expressionists' wholesale restructuring of artistic goals, sanctioning an expanded agenda that could range from the intensely personal to the overtly political. It is probably no coincidence that many Expressionists evolved their formal vocabulary first through printmaking, and only later applied these lessons to painting.

 

In one fell swoop, Klinger freed drawing from its former subservience to painting, and printmaking from the limitations of rote reproduction. His own work, though hardly revolutionary by present-day standards, proved extremely influential. Klinger's aesthetic hovered somewhere between the nineteenth century and the twentieth. Modern in content but academic in execution, his etching cycles tended to focus on elaborate narratives depicted in meticulously detailed representational settings. Käthe Kollwitz was inspired by these works to craft her socio-political print series, The Revolt of the Weavers and Peasants' War, while Alfred Kubin and others saw Klinger as a stepping-stone toward Surrealism. Both Kollwitz and Kubin, in their earliest works, approximated Klinger's narrative approach, which seduced the audience into accepting the artist's views by presenting them in the guise of a shared reality.

 

Where Klinger encouraged artists to craft alternate realities that served their particular visions, his followers would eventually invent an entirely new, abstract formal language more directly in sync with their expressive goals. Carrying Klinger's theories beyond the realm of mere content, artists began to investigate the graphic qualities intrinsic to each of the printmaking mediums. Klinger and Kollwitz had exploited the multitude of etching techniques designed to replicate light and shade and volume, but later artists were drawn to drypoint, a medium that allowed for far greater immediacy at the expense of tonal range. Even more so than drypoint, lithography could duplicate with breathtaking fidelity the spontaneity of an artist's drawing. But the signature printmaking medium of the Expressionist generation was woodcut. Revived in the 1890s by artists like Aubrey Beardsley and Felix Valloton, the art of woodblock printing was furthered by the contemporaneous interest in Japanese prints and the flat graphic style prevalent during the Art Nouveau period. However, the key influence in Germany was Edvard Munch, the first artist to directly incorporate the tactile qualities of wood into his prints.

 

By the turn of the twentieth century, a decisive rift had developed between the conventional forces of academia and the still inchoate modern movement. This rift manifested itself in periodic art-world scandals and found organizational acknowledgment in the Secession movements that sprouted throughout Germany and Austria in the 1890s. The Secessions' leaders were members of a transitional generation: artists like Lovis Corinth, Gustav Klimt, Max Liebermann and Carl Moll, who were not capable of altogether severing their ties to the academic traditions which had nurtured them in their youths. Nonetheless, by routinely exhibiting foreign modernism, the Secessionists established an international network for the exchange of new ideas that helped prepare the ground for Expressionism.

 

Graphics featured prominently in the Secessionist agenda, particularly in Berlin, where an annual "Black-and-White Exhibition" was held every winter. As business manager of the Berlin Secession, the dealer Paul Cassirer played a pivotal role in capitalizing and expanding upon the burgeoning interest in prints. In 1908, he brought over a group of master printers from Paris and established his own publishing enterprise, the Pan-Presse. Cassirer encouraged a number of artists to make lithographs and etchings, including Ernst Barlach, Max Beckmann, Lovis Corinth and Max Liebermann. Some of these, like Corinth and Liebermann, had earlier tried their hands at printmaking with no success, while Barlach, who would become one of the great printmakers of the Expressionist era, had never before even considered lithography.

 

Expressionism ultimately emerged without the benefit of backing from the Secessions or any other formal institution. In fact, it was just as the most advanced artists were leaving the Vienna Secession, in 1905, that Germany spawned its first full-fledged modernist cell, the Brücke (Bridge) group. As was typical of such groups, membership shifted over time, but the Brücke's core included Erich Heckel, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Emil Nolde, Max Pechstein and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. These artists, initially based in Dresden, were up on all the latest foreign trends, and they embraced an amalgam of influences that encompassed the work of Gauguin, Van Gogh and the Fauves, as well as African and Melanesian art. Eschewing the meticulous craftsmanship and finish of their academic forebears, the Brücke artists sought an immediacy of effect that naturally gave pride of place to drawing and printmaking.

 

Perhaps because many of its members were essentially self-taught, the Brücke blithely ignored generations of technical tradition and essentially reinvented the arts of etching, lithography and woodcut. The artists' direct involvement, not just with the creation of the plate, stone or block, but with the printing process itself, was so intense and personal that often no two prints from the same edition looked exactly alike. The group's total output was prodigious: Heckel, for example, produced more than 1,000 prints, Pechstein 805, and Kirchner over 2,000. Printmaking was also used to great promotional effect by the Brücke, which circulated more than 50 traveling exhibitions featuring graphics, and solicited support from "passive" members, who were rewarded with an annual print portfolio.

 

Printmaking was less crucial to the Blauer Reiter (Blue Rider), Germany's other principal Expressionist group. The Blauer Reiter, which counted among its followers Lyonel Feininger, Vasily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Alfred Kubin, August Macke, Franz Marc and Gabriele Münter, was shorter lived and less cohesive than the Brücke. Of the various members, Feininger, Kandinsky and Kubin produced the most substantive print oeuvres, the latter two for the most part long after they had severed any formal ties to Expressionism. Still, it is noteworthy that the Blauer Reiter's second public show, held at the Galerie Goltz in Munich in 1912, was a Schwarz-Weiss Ausstellung. A survey of over 300 Expressionist prints, watercolors and drawings, it included works by many artists beyond the limited circle of the Blauer Reiter, and summarized, as it were, the state of the art at that historical moment.

 

At this time, the term "Expressionist," when it was used at all, often encompassed both foreign and domestic art. Marc made it clear in the Blauer Reiter's famous "Almanac" that he considered himself and his comrades counterparts to the French Fauves (dubbed "Wilden" in German). While the drive to create a new type of art might momentarily coalesce in groups such as the Brücke or the Blauer Reiter, the underlying impulse was ultimately too unruly and too widespread to be constrained for long in that manner. In Austria, there never were any particularly effective formal groups associated with Expressionism. Egon Schiele tried in vain to unite his jealous and back-stabbing colleagues, while Oskar Kokoschka quickly embarked for the friendlier environment of Berlin, where he found succor with Herwarth Walden's Sturm gallery. Thus Expressionism, in the period prior to World War I, had neither a cohesive identity nor a generally

accepted name.

 

Even before the war, the Austrian and German avant-garde had periodically been assaulted by nationalistic attacks. Where some saw the Secessions' promotion of foreign art as beneficial to domestic production, others whined that these exhibitions sullied the nation's artistic integrity. The move to define and defend Expressionism as a distinctly Germanic style grew out of such critiques. Some printmakers justified their efforts by allying themselves with Dürer and the native Gothic tradition, invoking a mystical German reverence for wood. Arguments like these gathered steam after World War I, which had decisively shattered all illusions of transnational European cohesion. In the catalogue of what may have been the last significant "International Black-and-White Exhibition," held in Salzburg in 1921, a hope was expressed that art could somehow heal the nationalistic wounds left by the war. It was not to be.

 

Printmaking, too, was transformed by World War I. Ironically, the inflation that hit Germany and Austria in the years immediately following the war proved a boon to print publishers, as consumers rushed to invest their nearly worthless currency in any sort of tangible property. Unfortunately for the publishers, even sold-out editions often did not meet production costs, so much had the money been devalued by the time the bills came due. The rush to publish generated an outpouring of print cycles and portfolios by such artists as Beckmann, Otto Dix and Kokoschka. In this manner, the Expressionist print went out in a blaze of glory. After currency stabilization in 1923, the print market collapsed, and many artists never returned to the medium with comparable vigor.

 

Other factors also contributed to the demise of the Expressionist print. In the highly politicized atmosphere of postwar Germany and Austria, Expressionism was considered to be a bourgeois affectation. Printmaking was still important as a way of delivering political messages to the masses, but the specifically individualistic, personal and tactile aspects of the Expressionist print were anathema to a new generation of artists who, like George Grosz, worked in the service of a hoped-for socialist revolution. Many Expressionists, of course, continued to produce prints in the 1920s, but some of the most successful printmakers of that era were actually members of the earlier, transitional generation. Artists like Kollwitz and Barlach perfected a direct graphic style that adapted the Expressionists' formal innovations to the presentation of the social and political themes that had always interested them and that were now at the forefront of public consciousness.

 

In retrospect, the goals set forth by the most ardent ideologues of the Schwarz-Weiss Ausstellung were never fully realized. Drawing did not entirely cease to be subordinate to the "higher" arts of painting and sculpture. Nor did printmaking ever altogether lose its utility as a means of reproducing works in other mediums. Not all the Expressionists, after all, had the inclination to become deeply involved with the printmaking process. Many were quite happy with transfer lithography, which allowed for the easy reproduction of ink or crayon drawings. Throughout Europe, the print came to play a hybrid role: often more fully realized than a drawing, yet freer and more spontaneous than a painting. Certainly Expressionism improved the status of drawing and printmaking, but the "Black-and-White" shows were probably most important for the manner in which they realigned medium and message, creating a new relationship between form and content that in effect set the tone for the entire modernist enterprise.

 

We would like to extend our grateful thanks to the colleagues and private collectors whose generous contributions made this exhibition possible. Checklist entries include catalogue raisonné numbers, where applicable. Unless otherwise indicated, image dimensions are given for the prints and full dimensions for all other works.