Käthe Kollwitz: Prints, Process, Politics
Getty Publications, 2019
German printmaker Käthe Kollwitz (1867–1945) is known for her unapologetic social and political imagery; her representations of grief, suffering, and struggle; and her equivocal ideas about artistic and political labels. This volume explores Kollwitz’s obsessive printmaking experiments and the evolution of her images, and assesses the unusually rich progressions of preparatory drawings, proofs, and rejected images behind Kollwitz’s compositions of struggling workers, rebellious peasants, and grieving mothers.
This selected catalogue of the Dr. Richard A. Simms collection at the Getty Research Institute provides a bird’s-eye view of Kollwitz’s sequences of images as well as the interrelationships among prints produced over multiple years. The meanings and sentiments emerging from Kollwitz’s images are not, as is often implied, unmediated expressions of her politics and emotions. Rather, Kollwitz transformed images with deliberate technical and formal experiments, seemingly endless adjustments, wholesale rejections, and strategic regroupings of figures and forms—all of which demonstrate that her obsessive dedication to making art was never a straightforward means to political or emotional ends.
This volume is published to accompany an exhibition on view at the Getty Research Institute at the Getty Center December 3, 2019, through March 29, 2020; and the Art Institute of Chicago May 30 through September 13, 2020.