Käthe Kollwitz: Prints, Process, Politics
Getty Research Institute
Käthe Kollwitz’s oeuvre found its defining phase the first half of the twentieth century with her graphic depictions that covered the span of two world wars and depicted the implications and changes that the turbulences of that time brought – in essence, people struggling to survive, politics and injustices as well as the ever present sense of loss.
The opulently illustrated tome covers close to fifty years of an artist whose mastery of non-mainstream techniques is on par with excellence, which is mirrored in her expressionist emissions, be it woodcuts, etchings, lithographs or drawings.
The book manages to capture the essence of how Kollwitz channelled her alchemy, the political power, appeal, immediacy and thrall of which is still relevant and reverberates to this day.
Apart from being a fantastic resource for the uninitiated, being familiar with Kollwitz, the book offered interesting and for me new information along with prints that I have never had a chance to view before.
Käthe Kollwitz’s work is that of endless experimentation and a DIY ethic that the punk scene could only dream of. Strongly independent, the book portrays how Kollwitz not merely communicated political ideas and exposed unjust, but how the process of her art became an articulate, visual language. The fact that the means were limited back in the day make it all the more interesting.
The title of the book, i.e. the alliteration Prints, Process, Politics, is a telling one as it details all three themes and offers a glimpse into the journey from the inception of thoughts to what culminated in masterful artistic compositions.
An ode to one of Europe’s most important artists.