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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


ON THE BRINK 1900-2000

The Turning of Two Centuries

March 28, 1995 - May 26, 1995

ARTISTS

Barlach, Ernst

Beckmann, Max

Burns, Charles

Corinth, Lovis

Ensor, James

Finster, Howard

Fischl, Eric

Grosz, George

Heckel, Erich

Klimt, Gustav

Klinger, Max

Kollwitz, Käthe

Kubin, Alfred

Laske, Oskar

Mann, Sally

Masereel, Franz

McCurry, Steve

Meidner, Ludwig

Modersohn-Becker, Paula

Munch, Edvard

Nolde, Emil

Panter, Gary

Rouault, Georges

Schiele, Egon

Sherman, Cindy

 

ESSAY

Throughout history, there have been moments when catastrophic or sweeping changes, such as the Black Plague of the fourteenth century or the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century, exacerbated the apocalyptic and millenarian strains that lie imbedded in the Christian heritage. When change--for example, the political upheaval occasioned by the American and French Revolutions in the late 1700s--coincides with the turn of a century, the attendant tensions appear particularly portentous. The twentieth century, which in its early years witnessed the apotheosis of industrial society and at its end the first death spasms of the same, has produced an unusually rich body of imagery reflecting the dreams and fears inspired by drastic change. Such preoccupations have been further abetted by the fact that the present century lies on the brink of a true millennium.

 

Two world wars, the Holocaust and the prospect of nuclear Armageddon have kept the notion of apocalyptic disaster alive throughout these past 100 years, but from the vantage point of either end of the twentieth century, the central postwar era nevertheless seems comparatively stable and secure. This was the period when a thriving industrial economy produced a steadily rising standard of living for most citizens in the East and West, and the ideological stand-off of the Cold War not only dampened smaller European conflicts, but fostered a reassuring certainty of vision in partisans on both left and right. In art, the often anarchic gropings of the early modernists had been tamed by a formalist doctrine no less rigid, muscling the past into a theoretical straight jacket that purported to justify the present and guarantee the future. By contrast, today all semblance of economic, political and aesthetic certitude has vanished, replaced by a free-for-all whose chaotic nature engenders more dread than hope. Now that the mid-century stasis has been ruptured, it is evident that many issues which fueled anxieties around 1900 were never resolved, and they resurface in current concerns with such matters as race, ethnicity, eugenics and genetic engineering, gender, normative social or “family” values, religious extremism, plague-like diseases, “doomsday” scenarios of various kinds, and pervasive doubts about the merits of technology, science and the urban environment.

 

The present exhibition does not attempt to deal with all the prevalent fin-de-siècle obsessions; probably no single survey could comprehensively do so. Especially in the area of contemporary art, it is evident that themes of degeneration and transformation (thus far surprisingly unremarked) are so widespread as to merit separate study in their own right. From a vast array of choices, we have selected a deliberately eclectic handful, ranging from artists who, like Sue Coe or Eric Fischl, extend the parameters of representational modernism, to those like Charles Burns, Gary Panter and Art Spiegelman, who have brought comics into the realm of fine art. We have also included several self-taught or “outsider” artists, like Howard Finster. It is telling that the contemporary portion of the exhibition incorporates a significant amount of work by photographers such as Sally Mann and Steve McCurry, as well as by artists, including Cindy Sherman and David Wojnarowicz, who make extensive use of photography to express social concerns, for the weaning of narrative content from much twentieth-century painting has encouraged its proliferation in other genres.

 

The historical segment of the exhibition places primary emphasis on the Symbolist/Expressionist nexus that began evolving in the late nineteenth century with such figures as Edvard Munch and Max Klinger, and that culminated over the course of the next decades in the work of Egon Schiele, Erich Heckel, Ludwig Meidner and others. As these artists demonstrate, the human consequences of change were addressed more directly by modernists in north-central Europe than in France. Although all members of the avant-garde were acutely aware of their revolutionary mission, the French at the turn of the last century could look back to an array of precursors from Courbet to Cézanne, whereas those in other parts of Europe, lacking comparable role models, were more conscious of their commitment to radical novelty. A similar rupture with the past may be seen today, as modernism--which itself came to assume the hegemonic role of the old academies--finally fades away.

 

Momentous change creates opportunities as well as dangers, but the most striking turn-of-the-century images dwell on destructive elements. The allegorical figure of death stalks the work of artists as diverse as James Ensor, Käthe Kollwitz and Luis Cruz Azaceta. Evil mutant creatures reminiscent of those found in the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch were revived by Ensor at the end of the last century and again today by Coe and Erik Desmazières. Sometimes the peril being evoked is generic--as in Klinger’s famous etching Plague--and sometimes, as in much recent work devoted to the AIDS pandemic, it is alarmingly specific. Though disease is rarely welcomed, armed conflict, at least in the early years of this century, was occasionally seen as a positive force. Kollwitz, a Socialist, at one time yearned for revolution, while the Italian Futurists, together with German colleagues like Ernst Barlach, initially considered the First World War to be a cleansing event that would wipe out the last corrupt traces of bourgeois society. A kindred sensibility is found among present-day Christian fundamentalists, including Finster, who embrace the predicted apocalypse as a triumph of righteousness over sin. The realities of war and revolution eventually made pacifists of most early modernists, however, and today war is seldom endorsed. Coe, like Kollwitz, focuses on its innocent victims, often women and children. McCurry’s photographs of the recent conflict in Kuwait offer a multifaceted indictment of the futility and destructiveness of modern technology.

 

The almost unanimous excoriation of technology by contemporary artists is one of the more striking differences between the present fin-de-siècle and the last one. While some in government and business place great faith in the “information superhighway,” few believe that it will bring to the vast majority the sort of widespread benefits that industrialization once promised and that were, for example, heralded in Bolshevik posters. Indeed, much early twentieth-century art, from Félix Aimé del Marle’s ebullient evocation of the Paris Metro to Robert Michel’s frenetic homage to the town of Weimar, glorified the urban environment as the seat of a modern scientific utopia. Such images are counterbalanced, but not outweighed, by the “dead” or ruined cities of Schiele and Alfred Kubin, and the urban nightmares of Max Beckmann, George Grosz, Frans Masereel, Meidner and others. The flip-side of the rational, progress-oriented construct represented by the city was the idealization of a simpler bucolic past, which found concrete expression in “back-to-nature” colonies like the Worpswede community where Paula Modersohn-Becker and Heinrich Vogeler lived. Today, with the natural environment increasingly threatened by human depredations ranging from genetic engineering to toxic oil spills, artists like Coe concentrate less on recapturing the past than on forestalling further destruction. Doom-laden portraits of civilization, such as those painted by Dennis Pinette, are the norm.

 

A nostalgic yearning to regain lost innocence finds expression not just in the rural/urban dichotomy, but in bizarrely polarized views of childhood. In certain paintings by Modersohn-Becker, children are clearly identified with their idyllic Worpswede surroundings, but in others, little boys appear as almost alien beings, unreachable by adult logic and therefore somehow threatening. Schiele, still emotionally an adolescent when he executed his first Expressionist masterpieces, similarly evokes the self-contained world of childhood in numerous poignant watercolors. His open acknowledgment of sexual feelings in his pubescent models invites comparison with Sally Mann’s recent photographs of her daughters and son, though the attitudes of the two artists are in many ways quite different. Mann adopts a far more ambiguous stance, in which it is unclear whether sexuality and a host of other disturbing feelings are intrinsic to her underage subjects or imposed upon them by the viewer’s preconceptions. Photographer Larry Towell, too, has captured two extremes of the childhood paradigm: one in a pre-modern Mennonite enclave, and the other among the gun-toting boys of the Gaza Strip. The criminalization of children--lampooned by Art Spiegelman in a recent New Yorker cover and explored in depth by Sue Coe in her series on the Liverpool child murderers--is the pathetic recourse of a society that has abdicated all responsibility for its weakest members. It is the child’s “otherness” that places him or her beyond the pale of civilization--as an embodiment alternatively of lawlessness or incorruptibility.

 

Attitudes toward women likewise reflect the state of civilization, for it is by way of contrast that males defend their identity in times of transition and insecurity. Not surprisingly, a concerted attempt to define gender norms characterizes both the last turn of the century and the present one. The iconic femme fatale--typified in the work of Munch, Gustav Klimt, Lovis Corinth and others--was a popular way to simultaneously demonize female sexuality and segregate it from more serene, maternal views of the “good” woman. Even the less highly charged nudes depicted by these late-nineteenth-century artists consciously objectified the female body and placed it squarely at the service of male desire. Schiele, on the other hand, upended conventional poses and attitudes toward the nude, granting far more autonomy to feminine sexuality while nonetheless remaining clearly terrified of it. The lustful aggressiveness manifested by certain Expressionists, such as Beckmann, was countered by others, like Heckel, who equated naked women with the instinctual purity of “primitive” societies. By transplanting nude figures from the tribal wilderness to surroundings more reminiscent of a Caribbean vacation land, Eric Fischl provides an ironic, post-modern take on these age-old iconographic conventions. Cindy Sherman comments more acerbically on the pictorial formulae that have been used to subjugate women, while, like Fischl, remaining essentially outside the traditions that spawned such devices.

 

Artists today have recourse to a wide menu of historical styles and subjects, just as society at large picks through the debris of the past in search of new, overriding values. The tradeoff between freedom and anarchy, security and demagoguery, inevitably entails unsatisfactory compromises, and as the millennium approaches, no easy solution is in sight.