Monday, July 4, 2011

Kathe Kollwitz

I like German expressionism. The black and white woodcuts of Kathe Kollwitz are some of my favorite pieces.

Today I was looking at a small street map of the historic district in Cologne, Germany when right on the left edge of the map I saw an arrow with the words Kathe Kollwitz. I didn’t know how far I would have to walk or what I would find but I headed there anyways. What luck to stumble upon the Kathe Kollwitz Museum Cologne.

This museum has an impressive collection of the artist’s work, all the important series of her prints, some multi-colored lithographs, lots of drawings and some sculpture. It was great to see such a variety of work. While the works with the most appeal for me are those with politically charged imagery it was great to see them hanging near some of her more tender drawings.

Kathe Kollwitz wanted to exert influence during her lifetime. Her art involved taking stands against war and pushing for social justice. This wasn’t without consequences. Her work fell from favor and even into the 1970’s its’ reacceptance was dampened. She was excluded from the Prussian Academy of Arts in 1933, the same organization that had elected her as it’s first female inductee in 1919.

It’s inspiring to look at Kollwitz’s work. Understanding the personal fortitude required of her enhances the experience.

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