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


September 14, 1993 - November 6, 1993


Arntz, Gerd

Barlach, Ernst

Bayer, Herbert

Beckmann, Max

Dix, Otto

Dressler, August Wilhelm

Felixmüller, Conrad

Griebel, Otto

Grosz, George

Grundig, Lea

Heartfield, John

Höch, Hannah

Hubbuch, Karl

Kollwitz, Käthe

Meidner, Ludwig

Overbeck-Schenk, Gerta

Pechstein, Hermann Max

Schad, Christian



The period between the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II in November 1918 and Adolf Hitler’s seizure of power in January 1933 was one of great creative ferment in Germany. Expressionsim, which dominated the German avant garde before World War I, survived into the early 1920s. The Dada movement, founded in 1916 by a group of expatriot artists disgusted with the war effort, brought its free-form iconoclasm to bear on the postwar German political situation. Dire social and ecomomic circumstances seemed to demand a more pragmatic and realistic aesthetic, and by 1925 the Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) was widely hailed as the principal mode of the decade. However, German artists in the 1920s were united less by a single style than by their overriding concern with humanitarian themes: this was one of the few phases of modern art that valued content above form. Today, when contemporary artistis are again turning to overtly political subjects, a look back at Weimar Germany offers a useful object lesson about the capabilities and limitations of socially motivated art.


Prior to 1914, Expressionism was essentially apolitical. Its partisans considered themselves aesthetic revolutionaries but harbored no allegiance to a broader social revolution, beyond a vague disdain for the Philistine bourgeoisie. The Expressionists’ attempt to attain spiritual enlightenment through art was largely inner-directed. They banded together in small factions to protect their creative autonomy against the diluting impact of an often hostile majority, rather than out of any communal impulse. World War I, in which many artists fought and not a few died, accustomed its participants to group activity and created a body of shared experience. The patriotic fervor rampant in the early months of the war faded as battlefield horrors were compounded by the shocking incompetance and corruption of the military establishment. The war in effect taught artists to collaborate and encouraged them to question authority.


In the heady days following the 1918 revolution, it was easy for the Expressionists to imagine that the new age they had courted was at last dawning, and to turn their formerly internal quest outward. Many now tacitly assumed that there was, after all, a connection between radical art and radical politics, and that their inchoate hatred of the bourgeoisie had legitimate class roots. Identifying themselves with the proletariat and taking their cue from the recently founded Russian socialist state, artists felt a duty to offer guidance and inspiration to the masses. Many participated in the flurry of activity preceding the first general elections, scheduled for January 1919, which officially established the new republic’s Constituent Assembly in the town of Weimar. Three major artists’ coalitions--the Novembergruppe (November Group) and Arbeitsrat für Kunst (Worker’s Council for Art) in Berlin, and the Dresdener Sezession--Gruppe 19 in Dresden--were formed during this period with the purpose of shaping future cultural policy.


The myriad posters that were plastered all over Germany in the weeks preceding the 1919 elections vividly illustrate the volatile forces that were vying for command of the country. Controlled by moderate socialists, the provisional government had to contend not only with paranoid anti-Bolshevik hectoring from the right, but also with pressure from the more radical communists in their midst, who hoped to establish a soviet system similar to that of their Russian comrades. The posters commissioned by the Werbedienst (Publicity Office) of the interim regime--designed by Novembergruppe artists such as Heinz Fuchs, Cesar Klein, Max Pechstein and Georg Tappert--were principally intended to restore order: to get out the vote and to put an end to the strikes and armed skirmishes that were to become a recurring feature of the Weimar era.


The faith which artists had placed in the infant republic soon proved to be hopelessly idealistic, as did their goal of rousing the masses through revolutionary art. The masses did not, as it turned out, understand the avant-garde posters: they found them comical or worse still, personally insulting. Despite the artists’ anti-bourgeois posturing, the proletariat readily recognized them as members of an alien cultural elite. Those who hoped that the new regime would provide more artistic freedom than its predecessor were soon disappointed, and artists such as George Grosz were repeatedly dragged into court for various offenses against propriety. Establishing a pattern that was to persist and intensify in years to come, the ruling SPD (Social Democratic Party) was noticeably more hospitable to the entrenched military and industrial establishment than to the fellow socialists in the KPD (Communist Party). Both before and after the 1919 elections, uprisings by the left were brutally suppressed by the Freicorps (Free Corps), a right-wing paramilitary organization supported by the governmen. A number of key leaders--most famously, Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg--were murdered. Disillusioned, many artists retreated from organized political activity. The Arbeitsrat disbanded in 1921 and the Dredener Sezession in 1925. While the Novembergruppe lingered on until the 1930s, it had lost its political edge by 1922.


Far from offering a panacea for the world’s ills, the new Germany presented a compendium of its worst failings, which were dutifully catalogued by the nation’s many artists. As unemployment and inflation skyrocketed, the streets grew crowded with beggars and crippled war veterans, who served as inescapable reminders of society’s inequities. The war itself, as depicted by Otto Dix, was a metaphor for the moral and spiritual debasement of humankind. The parameters of personal interaction had seemingly been reduced to murder and rape (or most tellingly, a combination of the two), and prostitution became emblematic of an age which viewed everything as a commodity. The betrayal of the masses by the wealthy elite who profited from their suffering was a particular obsession of George Grosz, who was inspired by a modern-dress performance of Schiller’s classic play Die Räuber (The Robbers) to pen a pictorial discourse on capitalist corruption.


German artists in the 1920s were motivated by a combined desire for objective reportage and effective communication. The Neue Sachlichkeit, as much an attitude as a style, describes both the biting caricatures of Grosz and the sort of slick “magic realism” popular later inthe decade. Disdaining the capitalist marketplace traditionally served by exhibitions, artists sought to reach a wider audience through prints, broadsheets and illustrated journals.