Kollwitz, Kathe. (1867-1945): An der Kirchenmauer (By the Church Wall), 1893 (printed posthumously)
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Etching with Drypoint, 1893, posthumous ed. unknown, printed circa 1960s. Kl. 19 Vlb, unsigned, with the A.V.D. Becke Munchen-22 dry stamp lower right, final state, plate 9-15/16 x 5-3/16, image 9-3/8 x 4-7/16, pale hint of lightening within mat opening, printed in a warm black ink on thick cream wove paper. A fine late impression with rich contrasts of this early image by Kollwitz. Framed. 13 5/8" x 17 1/2".
Otto Nagel, the author of a book on Kollwitz's self portraits, has stated that the artist observed this woman first hand, but in making the print made this a self portrait. A. von der Becke became Kollwitz's print publisher after 1931, and after von der Becke's death in 1958, his wife Johanna and son Bernhard continued the publication of prints from Kollwitz's plates from 1963-1972, with which this impression is consistent.
Considered one of Germany’s most important early 20th-century artists, Käthe Kollwitz captured the hardships suffered by the working class in drawings, paintings, and prints. Themes of war and poverty dominate Kollwitz’s oeuvre, with images of women grieving dead children a particularly important and recurring theme—an experience that Kollwitz suffered herself when her son died in WWI, influencing her decision to become a Socialist. Kollwitz’s unflinching exploration of human suffering amounted to a searing indictment of social conditions in Germany. In 1936, the Nazis declared Kollwitz’s art “degenerate” and her artworks were removed from museums.