The Galerie St. Etienne kicks off the fall art season with Käthe Kollwitz: The Complete Print Cycles. Scheduled to run from October 8 through December 28, the show is the first presentation of its kind ever held in the United States. In addition to the artist’s complete print cycles, the exhibition includes numerous rare preliminary drawings and proofs documenting the evolution of the images. The 70 exhibited works have been borrowed from private collections across the United States and Canada.
Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945) created a vast body of work 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). She 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.
Kollwitz’s print cycles engage an array of themes in a variety of printmaking techniques and styles. As such, the cycles synopsize the full range of her development, both as an artist and as a social thinker. Notwithstanding the breadth of these works, however, they are strongly interconnected. The plea for peace and justice remains a constant. Kollwitz returns repeatedly to the same iconic figures—the marauding skeleton of Death, the protective mother, the pietá—reworking, reinterpreting. Yet she did not repeat herself. With each iteration, the artist brought new insights to her subjects and new refinements to her expressive means. Käthe Kollwitz: The Complete Print Cycles offers an in-depth look at one of the 20th century’s foremost women artists, whose message remains as resonant today as it was in her time.
KÄTHE KOLLWITZ: The Complete Print Cycles is accompanied by a detailed checklist and scholarly essay by Galerie St. Etienne Co-Director Jane Kallir. For further information and images, please contact Courtney Donner at 212-245-6734 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Galerie St. Etienne is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 AM to 5 PM, and other times by appointment.