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Past Exhibitions

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 11, 2017 - October 13, 2017


The Woman Question

Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka

March 14, 2017 - June 30, 2017


You Say You Want a Revolution

American Artists and the Communist Party

October 18, 2016 - March 4, 2017


Recent Acquisitions

July 12, 2016 - October 7, 2016


Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Featuring Watercolors and Drawings from the Robert Lehman Collection

March 29, 2016 - July 1, 2016


Paula Modersohn-Becker

Art and Life

November 3, 2015 - March 19, 2016


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 21, 2015 - October 16, 2015


Leonard Baskin

Wunderkammer

April 23, 2015 - July 2, 2015


Alternate Histories

Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Galerie St. Etienne

January 15, 2015 - April 11, 2015


Marie-Louise Motesiczky

The Mother Paintings

October 7, 2014 - December 24, 2014


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 15, 2014 - September 26, 2014


Ilija/Mangelos

Father & Son, Inside & Out

April 24, 2014 - July 3, 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


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


Story Lines

Tracing the Narrative of "Outsider" Art

January 15, 2013 - March 30, 2013


Egon Schiele's Women

October 23, 2012 - December 28, 2012


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 17, 2012 - October 13, 2012


Mad As Hell!

New Work (and Some Classics) by Sue Coe

April 17, 2012 - July 3, 2012


The Ins and Outs of Self-Taught Art

Reflections on a Shifting Field

January 10, 2012 - April 7, 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


Decadence & Decay

Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, George Grosz

April 12, 2011 - June 24, 2011


Self-Taught Painters in American 1800-1950

Revisiting the Tradition

January 11, 2011 - April 2, 2011


Marie-Louise Motesiczky

Paradise Lost & Found

October 12, 2010 - December 30, 2010


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


Seventy Years Grandma Moses

A Loan Exhibition Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Artist's "Discovery"

February 3, 2010 - April 3, 2010


Egon Schiele as Printmaker

A Loan Exhibition Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Galerie St. Etienne

November 3, 2009 - January 23, 2010


From Brücke To Bauhaus

The Meanings of Modernity in Germany, 1905-1933

March 31, 2009 - June 26, 2009


They Taught Themselves

American Self-Taught Painters Between the World Wars

January 9, 2009 - March 14, 2009


Elephants We Must Never Forget

New Paintings Drawings and Prints by Sue Coe

October 14, 2008 - December 20, 2008


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


Leonard Baskin

Proofs and Process

October 9, 2007 - January 5, 2008


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 5, 2007 - September 28, 2007


Who Paid the Piper?

The Art of Patronage in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna

March 8, 2007 - May 26, 2007


Fairy Tale, Myth and Fantasy

Approaches to Spirituality in Art

December 7, 2006 - February 3, 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


Parallel Visions II

"Outsider" and "Insider" Art Today

April 5, 2006 - May 26, 2006


Ilija!

His First American Exhibtion

January 17, 2006 - March 18, 2006


Coming of Age

Egon Schiele and the Modernist Culture of Youth

November 15, 2005 - January 7, 2006


Sue Coe:

Sheep of Fools

September 20, 2005 - November 5, 2005


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 II

Self-Taught Artists

January 18, 2005 - March 26, 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


Animals & Us

The Animal in Contemporary Art

April 1, 2004 - May 22, 2004


Henry Darger

Art and Myth

January 15, 2004 - March 20, 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


In Search of the "Total Artwork"

Viennese Art and Design 1897–1932

April 8, 2003 - June 14, 2003


Russia's Self-Taught Artists

A New Perspective on the "Outsider"

January 14, 2003 - March 29, 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


Grandma Moses

Reflections of America

January 15, 2002 - March 16, 2002


Gustav Klimt/Egon Schiele/Oskar Kokoscha

From Art Nouveau to Expressionism

November 23, 2001 - January 5, 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


"Our Beautiful and Tormented Austria!": Art Brut in the Land of Freud

January 18, 2001 - March 17, 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


European Self-Taught Art

Brut or Naive?

January 18, 2000 - March 11, 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


Sue Coe: The Pit

The Tragical Tale of the Rise and Fall of a Vivisector

March 30, 1999 - June 5, 1999


Henry Darger and His Realms

January 14, 1999 - March 13, 1999


Becoming Käthe Kollwitz

An Artist and Her Influences

November 17, 1998 - December 31, 1998


George Grosz - Elfriede Lohse-Wächtler

Art & Gender in Weimar Germany

September 23, 1998 - November 11, 1998


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts About Looted Art)

June 9, 1998 - September 11, 1998


Taboo

Repression and Revolt in Modern Art

March 26, 1998 - May 30, 1998


Sacred & Profane

Michel Nedjar and Expressionist Primitivism

January 13, 1998 - March 14, 1998


Egon Schiele (1890-1918)

Master Draughtsman

November 18, 1997 - January 3, 1998


The New Objectivity

Realism in Weimar-Era Germany

September 16, 1997 - November 8, 1997


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


That Way Madness Lies

Expressionism and the Art of Gugging

January 14, 1997 - March 15, 1997


The Viennese Line

Art and Design Circa 1900

November 18, 1996 - January 4, 1997


Emil Nolde - Christian Rohlfs

Two German Expressionist Masters

September 24, 1996 - November 9, 1996


Breaking All The Rules

Art in Transition

June 11, 1996 - September 6, 1996


Sue Coe's Ship of Fools

March 26, 1996 - May 24, 1996


New York Folk

Lawrence Lebduska, Abraham Levin, Isreal Litwak

January 16, 1996 - March 16, 1996


The Fractured Form

Expressionism and the Human Body

November 15, 1995 - January 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


Earl Cummingham - Grandma Moses

Visions of America

January 17, 1995 - March 18, 1995


Drawn to Text: Comix Artists as Book Illustrators

November 15, 1994 - January 7, 1995


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

September 13, 1994 - November 5, 1994


55th Anniversary Exhibition in Memory of Otto Kallir

June 7, 1994 - September 2, 1994


Sue Coe: We All Fall Down

March 29, 1994 - May 27, 1994


The Forgotten Folk Art of the 1940's

January 18, 1994 - March 19, 1994


Symbolism and the Austrian Avant Garde

Klimt, Schiele and their Contemporaries

November 16, 1993 - January 8, 1994


Art and Politics in Weimar Germany

September 14, 1993 - November 6, 1993


Recent Acquisitions

June 8, 1993 - September 3, 1993


The "Outsider" Question

Non-Academic Art from 1900 to the Present

March 23, 1993 - May 28, 1993


The Dance of Death

Images of Mortality in German Art

January 19, 1993 - March 13, 1993


Art Spiegelman

The Road to Maus

November 17, 1992 - January 9, 1993


Käthe Kollwitz

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

September 15, 1992 - November 7, 1992


Naive Visions/Art Nouveau and Expressionism/Sue Coe: The Road to the White House

May 19, 1992 - September 4, 1992


Richard Gerstl/Oskar Kokoschka

March 17, 1992 - May 9, 1992


Scandal, Outrage, Censorship

Controversy in Modern Art

January 21, 1992 - March 7, 1992


Viennese Graphic Design

From Secession to Expressionism

November 19, 1991 - January 11, 1992


The Expressionist Figure

September 10, 1991 - November 9, 1991


Recent Acquisitions

Themes and Variations

May 14, 1991 - August 16, 1991


Sue Coe Retrospective

Political Document of a Decade

March 12, 1991 - May 5, 1991


Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka

Watercolors, drawings and prints

January 22, 1991 - March 2, 1991


Egon Schiele

November 13, 1990 - January 12, 1991


Lovis Corinth

A Retrospective

September 11, 1990 - November 3, 1990


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


Grandma Moses

November 14, 1989 - January 13, 1990


Sue Coe

Porkopolis--Animals and Industry

September 19, 1989 - November 4, 1989


The Galerie St. Etienne

A History in Documents and Pictures

June 20, 1989 - September 8, 1989


Gustav Klimt

Paintings and Drawings

April 11, 1989 - June 10, 1989


Fifty Years Galerie St. Etienne: An Overview

February 14, 1989 - April 1, 1989


Folk Artists at Work

Morris Hirshfield, John Kane and Grandma Moses

November 15, 1988 - January 14, 1989


Recent Acquisitions and Works From the Collection

June 14, 1988 - September 16, 1988


From Art Nouveau to Expressionism

April 12, 1988 - May 27, 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


Folk Art of This Century

February 10, 1987 - March 28, 1987


Oskar Kokoschka and His Time

November 25, 1986 - January 31, 1987


Viennese Design and Wiener Werkstätte

September 23, 1986 - November 8, 1986


Gustav Klimt/Egon Schiele/Oskar Kokoschka

Watercolors, Drawings and Prints

May 27, 1986 - September 13, 1986


Expressionist Painters

March 25, 1986 - May 10, 1986


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


European and American Landscapes

June 4, 1985 - September 13, 1985


Expressionist Printmaking

Aspects of its Genesis and Development

April 1, 1985 - May 24, 1985


Expressionist Masters

January 18, 1985 - March 23, 1985


Arnold Schoenberg's Vienna

November 13, 1984 - January 5, 1985


Grandma Moses and Selected Folk Paintings

September 25, 1984 - November 3, 1984


American Folk Art

People, Places and Things

June 12, 1984 - September 14, 1984


John Kane

Modern America's First Folk Painter

April 17, 1984 - May 25, 1984


Eugène Mihaesco

The Illustrator as Artist

February 28, 1984 - April 7, 1984


Early Expressionist Masters

January 17, 1984 - February 18, 1984


Paula Modersohn-Becker

Germany's Pioneer Modernist

November 15, 1983 - January 7, 1984


Gustav Klimt

Drawings and Selected Paintings

September 20, 1983 - November 5, 1983


Early and Late

Drawings, Paintings & Prints from Academicism to Expressionism

June 1, 1983 - September 2, 1983


Alfred Kubin

Visions From The Other Side

March 22, 1983 - May 7, 1983


20th Century Folk

The First Generation

January 18, 1983 - March 12, 1983


Grandma Moses

The Artist Behind the Myth

November 15, 1982 - January 8, 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


19th and 20th Century European and American Folk Art

January 19, 1982 - March 6, 1982


The Folk Art Tradition

Naïve Painting in Europe and the United States

November 17, 1981 - January 9, 1982


Austria's Expressionism

April 21, 1981 - May 30, 1981


Eugène Mihaesco

His First American One-Man Show

March 3, 1981 - April 11, 1981


Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele

November 12, 1980 - December 27, 1980


Summer Exhibition

June 17, 1980 - October 31, 1980


Kollwitz: The Drawing and The Print

May 1, 1980 - June 10, 1980


40th Anniversary Exhibition

November 13, 1979 - December 28, 1979


American Primitive Art

November 22, 1977


Käthe Kollwitz

December 1, 1976


Neue Galerie-Galerie St. Etienne

A Documentary Exhibition

May 1, 1976


Martin Pajeck

January 27, 1976


Georges Rouault and Frans Masereel

April 29, 1972


Branko Paradis

December 1, 1971


Käthe Kollwitz

February 3, 1971


Egon Schiele

The Graphic Work

October 19, 1970


Gustav Klimt

March 20, 1970


Friedrich Hundertwasser

May 6, 1969


Austrian Art of the 20th Century

March 21, 1969


Egon Schiele

Memorial Exhibition

October 31, 1968


Yugoslav Primitive Art

April 30, 1968


Alfred Kubin

January 30, 1968


Käthe Kollwitz

In the Cause of Humanity

October 23, 1967


Abraham Levin

September 26, 1967


Karl Stark

April 5, 1967


Gustav Klimt

February 4, 1967


The Wiener Werkstätte

November 16, 1966


Oskar Laske

October 25, 1965


Käthe Kollwitz

May 1, 1965


Egon Schiele

Watercolors and Drawings from American Collections

March 1, 1965


25th Anniversary Exhibition

Part II

November 21, 1964


25th Anniversary Exhibition

Part I

October 17, 1964


Mary Urban

June 9, 1964


Werner Berg, Jane Muus and Mura Dehn

May 5, 1964


Eugen Spiro

April 4, 1964


B. F. Dolbin

Drawings of an Epoch

March 3, 1964


Austrian Expressionists

January 6, 1964


Joseph Rifesser

December 3, 1963


Panorama of Yugoslav Primitive Art

October 21, 1963


Joe Henry

Watercolors of Vermont

May 1, 1963


French Impressionists

March 8, 1963


Grandma Moses

Memorial Exhibition

November 26, 1962


Group Show

October 15, 1962


Ernst Barlach

March 23, 1962


Martin Pajeck

February 24, 1962


Paintings by Expressionists

January 27, 1962


Käthe Kollwitz

November 11, 1961


Grandma Moses

September 7, 1961


My Friends

Fourth Biennial of Pictures by American School Children

May 27, 1961


Raimonds Staprans

April 17, 1961


Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka and Alfred Kubin

March 14, 1961


Marvin Meisels

January 23, 1961


Egon Schiele

November 15, 1960


My Life's History

Paintings by Grandma Moses

September 12, 1960


Watercolors and Drawings by Austrian Artists from the Dial Collection

May 2, 1960


Martin Pajeck

February 29, 1960


Eugen Spiro

February 6, 1960


Käthe Kollwitz

December 14, 1959


Josef Scharl

Last Paintings and Drawings

November 11, 1959


European and American Expressionists

September 22, 1959


Our Town

One Hundred Paintings by American School Children

May 23, 1959


Marvin Meisels and Martin Pajeck

May 1, 1959


Gustav Klimt

April 1, 1959


Käthe Kollwitz

January 12, 1959


Oskar Kokoschka

October 28, 1958


Village Life in Guatemala

Paintings by Andres Curuchich

June 3, 1958


Two Unknown American Expressionists

Paintings by Marvin Meisels and Martin Pajeck

April 28, 1958


Paula Modersohn-Becker

March 15, 1958


The Great Tradition in American Painting

American Primitive Art

January 20, 1958


Jules Lefranc and Dominique Lagru

Two French Primitives

November 18, 1957


Margret Bilger

October 22, 1957


The Four Seasons

One Hundred Paintings by American School Children

June 11, 1957


Grandma Moses

May 6, 1957


Alfred Kubin

April 3, 1957


Franz Lerch

March 2, 1957


Egon Schiele

January 21, 1957


Josef Scharl

Memorial Exhibition

November 17, 1956


Irma Rothstein

May 19, 1956


Käthe Kollwitz

April 16, 1956


A Tribute to Grandma Moses

November 28, 1955


As I See Myself

One Hundred Paintings by American School Children

May 20, 1955


Juan De'Prey

April 19, 1955


Erich Heckel

March 29, 1955


Freddy Homburger

March 2, 1955


Masters of the 19th Century

January 18, 1955


Oskar Kokoschka

November 29, 1954


Isabel Case Borgatta and Josef Scharl

October 12, 1954


James N. Rosenberg and Eugen Spiro

April 30, 1954


Per Krogh

April 2, 1954


Cuno Amiet

February 16, 1954


Eniar Jolin

January 14, 1954


Irma Rothstein

December 8, 1953


Josef Scharl

November 11, 1953


Grandma Moses

October 21, 1953 - October 24, 1953


Wilhelm Kaufmann

September 30, 1953


Lovis Corinth, Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele

May 27, 1953


A Grandma Moses Album

Recent Paintings, 1950-1953

April 15, 1953


Streeter Blair

American Primitive

February 26, 1953


Paintings on Glass

Austrian Religious Folk Art of the 17th to 19th Centuries

December 4, 1952


Hasan Kaptan

Paintings of a Ten-Year-Old Turkish Painter

October 29, 1952


Margret Bilger

May 10, 1952


American Natural Painters

March 31, 1952


Ten Years of New York Concert Impressions by Eugen Spiro; Four New Paintings by

January 26, 1952


I-Fa-Wei

Watercolors of New York by a Chinese Artist

December 1, 1951


Käthe Kollwitz

October 25, 1951


Drawings and Watercolors by Austrian Children

May 21, 1951


Grandma Moses

Twenty-Five Masterpieces of Primitive Art

March 17, 1951


Roswitha Bitterlich

January 18, 1951


Oskar Laske

Watercolors of Vienna and the Salzkammergut

October 14, 1950


Tenth Anniversary Exhibition

Part II

May 11, 1950


Austrian Art of the 19th Century

From Wadlmüller to Klimt

April 1, 1950


Chiao Ssu-Tu

February 18, 1950


Anton Faistauer

January 1, 1950


Tenth Anniversary Exhibition

Part I

November 30, 1949


Autograph Exhibition

October 26, 1949


Gladys Wertheim Bachrach

May 24, 1949


Oskar Kokoschka

March 30, 1949


Eugen Spiro

February 19, 1949


Frans Masereel

January 13, 1949


Ten Years Grandma Moses

November 22, 1948


Käthe Kollwitz

Masterworks

October 18, 1948


American Primitives

June 3, 1948


Egon Schiele

Memorial Exhibition

April 5, 1948


Miriam Richman

February 7, 1948


Vally Wieselthier

Memorial Exhibition

January 10, 1948


Christmas Exhibition

December 4, 1947


Fritz von Unruh

November 10, 1947


Käthe Kollwitz

October 4, 1947


Grandma Moses

May 17, 1947


Lovis Corinth

April 16, 1947


Hugo Steiner-Prag

March 15, 1947


Mark Baum

January 11, 1947


Eugen Spiro

November 25, 1946


Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

May 17, 1946


Ladis W. Sabo

Paintings by a New Primitive Artist

April 8, 1946


Georges Rouault

The Graphic Work

February 26, 1946


Käthe Kollwitz

Memorial Exhibition

November 21, 1945


Fred E. Robertson

Paintings by an American Primitive

June 13, 1945


Max Liebermann

The Graphic Work

April 18, 1945


Vienna through Four Centuries

March 1, 1945


Eugen Spiro

January 20, 1945


Grandma Moses

New Paintings

December 5, 1944


Käthe Kollwitz

Part II

October 26, 1944


A Century of French Graphic Art

From Géricault to Picasso

September 28, 1944


Max Liebermann

Memorial Exhibition

June 9, 1944


Juan De'Prey

Paintings by a Self-Taught Artist from Puerto Rico

May 6, 1944


Abraham Levin

April 15, 1944


Lesser Ury

Memorial Exhibition

March 21, 1944


Grandma Moses

Paintings by the Senior of the American Primitives

February 9, 1944


Betty Lane

January 11, 1944


WaIt Disney Cavalcade

December 9, 1943


Käthe Kollwitz

Part I

November 3, 1943


Will Barnet

September 29, 1943


Lovis Corinth

May 26, 1943


Josephine Joy

Paintings by an American Primitive

May 3, 1943


Oskar Kokoschka

Aspects of His Art

March 31, 1943


Eugen Spiro

February 13, 1943


Seymour Lipton

January 18, 1943


Illuminated Gothic Woodcuts

Printed and Painted, 1477-1493

December 5, 1942


Abraham Levin

November 4, 1942


Walt Disney Originals

September 23, 1942


Documents which Relate History

Documents of Historical Importance and Landmarks of Human Development

June 10, 1942


Honoré Daumier

April 29, 1942


Bertha Trabich

Memorial Exhibition of a Russian-American Primitive

March 25, 1942


Alfred Kubin

Master of Drawing

December 4, 1941


Egon Schiele

November 7, 1941


Betty Lane

June 3, 1941


Flowers from Old Vienna

18th and Early 19th Century Flower Painting

May 7, 1941


Weavings by Navaho and Hopi Indians and Photos of Indians by Helen M. Post

January 29, 1941


Georg Merkel

November 7, 1940


What a Farm Wife Painted

Works by Mrs. Anna Mary Moses

October 9, 1940


Saved from Europe

Masterpieces of European Art

July 1, 1940


American Abstract Art

May 22, 1940


Franz Lerch

May 1, 1940


Wilhelm Thöny

April 3, 1940


French Masters of the 19th and 20th Centuries

February 29, 1940


H. W. Hannau

Metropolis, Photographic Studies of New York

February 2, 1940


Oskar Kokoschka

January 9, 1940


Austrian Masters

November 13, 1939


KATHE KOLLWITZ

The Complete Print Cycles

October 8, 2013 - December 28, 2013

ARTISTS

Kollwitz, Käthe

ESSAY

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.