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Last updated: 1/25/2017
Home / Gallery Tour 1 / German Expressionism / Gallery Tour 2 / Artists
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Käthe Kollwitz (German, 1867-1945): Men

Kollwitz: Introductory / Kollwitz Self-Portraits / Kollwitz 2: Weavers' revolt / Kollwitz 3: Mothers
Kollwitz 4: Tragedies / Kollwitz 5: Women / Kollwitz 6: Women 2 / Kollwitz 7: Peasants' War / Kollwitz 8: Men

German Expressionism: Portraits / Lovers / Society

"Käthe Kollwitz and German Expressionism" featured over fifty works by Käthe Kollwitz plus additional works by Josef Albers,
Ernst Barlach, Rudolf Bauer, Max Beckmann, Peter Behrens, Heinrich Campendonck, Marc Chagall, Lovis Corinth, Otto Dix,
Lyonel Feininger, Conrad Felixmuller, Hans Fronius, Alfons Graber, Otto Greiner, Georg Grosz, Erich Heckel, Hannah Hoch,
Karl Hofer, Wassily Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Paul Klee, Oskar Kokoschka, Ludwig Meidner, Edvard Munch,
Gabrielle Munter, Heinrich Nauen, Emile Nolde, Max Pechstein, Hilla von Rebay, Georges Rouault, Rudolf Schlichter,
Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Siegfried Schott, Georg Tappert, Wilhelm Wagner, and others

German Expressionist Drawings

The Russians: Chagall, Sonia Delaunay, Goncharova, Larionov, and Malevich
Most of Kollwitz' prints focus on the suffering and joys of women, which sometimes includes the suffering and joys of the men with whom women interact. Sometimes, however, men take center stage in the theater of the lives that Kollwitz presnets to us. We herewith present several examples.
Sitzender mannlicher akt / sitting male nude (Klipstein 4 ii/ii, Knesebeck 4 II e/ 4 IIf). Original line etching and drypoint, 1891. Ours is one of the examples of Knesebeck's next to the last state of this print: Editions between 1946/48 and 1963/65, in brown or brown-violet, on various papers, among which lightly yellow or yellow-brown imitation Japan, later on thick, soft velin, some with von der Becke’s stamp of the artist’s signature and/or with von der Becke’s three-line Berlin-Halensee embossed seal. Ours is a fine clear sharp impression in brown-violet ink on velin with von der Becke’s three-line Berlin-Halensee embossed seal. Kollwitz here offers a glimpse of something like Shakespeare's "unaccomodated man" in Act iii, scene iv of King Lear: "Unaccommodated / man is no more but such a poor, bare, forked / animal as thou art." Image size: 295x315mm. Price: $1800.
Die Pflüger / The Plowman (Kl. 94 ix b, Knesebeck 99 XIIIb). Original etching and aquatint, before mid-January 1907. Edition: Our impression printed on copperplate paper (wove paper) by von der Becke with his 2-line Muenchen-22 blindstamp. Knesebeck describes that state (state XI) as follows: "The entire lower section of the composition - the ploughmen, the field and the far open country - are gone over with moulette or roulette. The work with needle bundle in the upper part of the sky prints incompletely. Proofs from the reworked plate as of 1946/48." State b is described as follows: "Editions between 1963/65 and 1972, in brown-violet, on thick, soft velin, with von der Becke’s Munich embossed seal." The color of the ink is dark enough that it looks almost black. The most conspicuous differences are in the sky, top left, where the lines in the sky are more defined and in the area around the wheel of the plow lower right, where the lines are thicker and less distinct. There is a lot more plate tone in the entire lower area thanks to the use of the roulette to add lots of pits that can hold and print ink. Sheet 1 of The Peasants' War. Signed in the plate. One of Kollwitz' most important woks, it is frequently illustrated in books, including those by Zigrosser, Hinz, Fecht, and the Kleins. The image depicts a peasant almost horizontal with the effort required to pull the plow, taking the place of a missing ox. Image size: 315x454mm. Price: $2000.
Bein Dengeln / Sharpening the scythe (Kl. 90 x / xii b, Knesebeck 88 XIb/XIVc). Original etching, drypopint, sandpaper, aquatint, and soft ground, 1905. Edition: Printed by Otto Felsing and published by Richter in 1921. Engraved lower right corner: "Druck von O. Felsing, Berlin S.W." with the added engraved annotation "1921" lower right. One of 200 impressions signed by Kollwitz. This is sheet 3 of The Peasants' War series. A brilliant impression of one of Kollwitz' most famous images on a very large sheet of "copperplate" (wove) paper measuring 732x568mm. The image is a very powerful one: a peasant sharpening his scythe and dreaming of revenge. Image size: 298x298mm. Price: SOLD.
Bein Dengeln / Sharpening the scythe (Kl. 90 x / xii b, Knesebeck 88 XIb/XIVc). Original etching, drypopint, sandpaper, aquatint, and soft ground, 1905. Edition: Printed by Otto Felsing and published by Richter in 1921. Engraved lower right corner: "Druck von O. Felsing, Berlin S.W." with the added engraved annotation "1921" lower right. Sheet 3 of The Peasants' War series. Remains of old tape on the reverse. A brilliant impression, probably printed after the 1921 edition and before the 1924 edition, of one of Kollwitz' most famous images: a peasant sharpening his scythe and dreaming of revenge. Image size: 298x298mm. Price: $3800.
Inspiration (Kl. 91, Knesebeck 86 VIIc/X). Original etching, 1905. Edition: designed for The Peasants' War cycle, but not included. Before the engraved script of the 1921 Richter edition and before the row of nearly vertical lines at the middle section of the lower plate edge of the 1946/48 Von der Becke editions. Apparently a proof from the 1918 Richter edition. Printed by Felsing. This is another one of Kollwitz' most powerful etchings. Image size: 564x297mm. Price: $3850.
Die Gefangenen / The Prisoners (Kl. 98 VIIIb, Knesebeck 102 IXb /Xb). Original etching and softground, 1908. This is Plate 7 of Kollwitz' Peasants' War cycle. The defeated prisoners have been herded together for punishment and execution. Knesebeck describes state IXb as follows: "The remaining engraved script as well as the date '1921' are removed. Editions by von der Becke between 1931 and 1941, in brown. Mostly unsigned proofs on copperplate paper (wove paper) or imitation Japan." Ours is a very clear and sharp impression on copperplate paper pencil-signed lower right just beneath the platemark. The lines in the pants of the prisoners on the right in particular but all of the others generally are much sharper than they appear in the photograph. Nagel compares this print to the final plate of the Weaver's Revolt: "The weavers are defeated, resigned. It really is 'the end' for them. It is quite different for the captives of the Peasant's Revolt. They too are defeated, probably they will be executed, and yet this is not the end. Their faces are defiant, firmly they stand, feet planted apaprt. The artist has made much more powerful use of her etching technique. . . . All the figures in the later sequence are conceived on the grand scale. The figures are not cramped but set in space. There is neither scenery nor 'stage props' " (Nagel, p. 33). Image size: 327x423mm. Price: $7500.
Gefangene, Musik hörend / Prisoners listening to music (Kl. 203, Knesebeck 224 II/II). Original crayon lithograph, 1925. Ours is a pencil-signed impression from the final state, after the listener at left was ground out and his head was placed lower. Only the upper half of his head and and an eye are visible. There were proofs on Japan for members of the Kunstverrein (Art Association) of Kassel (1925-27) and an edition of 30 signed impressions published by von der Becke c. 1931, of which ours is one. A haunting image of men beaten down and numbed by their lives, one of whom (the man on the right) appears to be finding some consolation in the music compared to the man in front, who simply seems shell-shocked. Rare. Image size: 334x330 mm. Price: $8650.
Verbrüderung / Fraternal love (Kl. 199b, Knesebeck 204c). Original lithograph, 1924. Edition: Edition as frontispiece for the book “Henri Barbusse/Der singende Soldat/Mit Einleitung /Die logische Brüderlichkeit / The Singing Soldier/With Foreword/The Logical Brotherhood (Verlag Friedrich
Dehne, Leipzig, 1924). The book was published in a one-time numbered edition totaling 1,400 copies, with 700 copies in German and 700 copies in English. Of those, there was a deluxe edition that contained 400 pencil-signed impressions. Ours is a very strong and fresh impression on paper measuring c. 330x250mm (as called for). There were also some impressions, most signed, printed by von der Becke c. 1931. A powerful image of the possibility of humanity's search for love as a relief from pain and oppression. Included in German Expressionist Prints & Drawings, 1989 (LACMA, p. 52). Images size: 235x170mm. Price: $6250.

An unsigned impression of this lithograph is also available. Price: $2250.
Der Agitationsredner / The Agitator (Kl. 224). Original lithograph, 1926. Edition: 25 signed impressions on Japan, 50 signed impressions on white Bütten, and an unsigned edition. Ours is one of the 50 pencil-signed impressions on white Bütten. A powerful and painful study of the politics of the 1920s. As a pair, these two works must remind us of W. H. Auden's argument in his poem, "September 1, 1939," "We must love one another or die." Image size: 314x216mm. Price: $6000.
Vier manner in der kniepe (Kl. 12 iiib). Original soft-ground etching and aquatint, 1892-93. Edition: from the edition of unknown size published in 1921. Kollwitz here captures the conspiratorial and oppressive atmosphere of the German Empire in the late 19th century. This work, while not part of the series, shows Kollwitz already thinking about the themes to be explored in it and could be, von Knesebeck suggests, an early version of Beratung / Conspiracy. Image size: 125x150mm. Price: $1600.
Der Trauernde / The Mourner (Kl. 137 v Ab, Knesebeck 145bis). Original etching, aquatint, sandpaper, reservage and soft ground with the imprint of laid paper, 1919. A powerful and painful study of the politics of the turbulent period after the end of the First World War in Germany. The attorney Karl Liebknecht (1871-1919) along with Rosa Luxemburg led the Marxist organization "Spartakusbund" and participated in the foundation of the KPD [Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands = Communist Party, Germany]. On January 15, 1919, Liebknecht and Luxemburg were murdered by the voluntary militia. Käthe Kollwitz was horrified by the "scandalous, despicable murder". She received permission to draw Liebknecht in the mortuary. Under her impressions of the funeral, which resulted in a mass demonstration of the work force, Kollwitz began the Liebknecht memorial as an etching. According to a diary entry of March 15, 1919, "Today I began work on the ‘Lamentation’”. Late March, 1919, she wrote: "I am working on ‘Funeral’. In the process of working it out it has gradually become a farewell to Liebknecht." As of early October, 1919, Kollwitz revised the Liebknecht memorial as a lithograph (nr. 146), and in fall, 1920, she executed it finally as a woodcut (nr. 159). About the first, etched version, Kollwitz remarked to Heinrich Becker in a letter dated June 1, 1929 (Käthe Kollwitz an Dr. Heinrich Becker, Briefe, Bielefeld, 1967, p. 3): "A series of state proofs exists for the etching ‘Memorial for Karl Liebknecht’. The plate is spoiled and was not completed." No edition was published until after Kollwitz' death. Ours seems to be Knesebeck's 2nd state between 1946/48 and 1963/65 and before the 1963/65-1972 editions with von der Becke's Munich seal. Image size: 274x160mm. Price: $1900.
Hambrgger Kniepe / Hamburg Tavern (Kl. 58, Knesebeck 55 IVb of IVd). Original soft-ground etching and aquatint, before mid-June, 1901. Edition: one of an unknown number of unsigned impressions on copperplate paper printed by von der Becke between 1931 and 1941, presumably under Kollwitz' supervision. In a rare moment, Kollwitz here captures the amusement of two men dancing in a pub while a laughing woman watches them (and us!). Image size: 192x247mm. Price: $3500.
Hambrgger Kniepe / Hamburg Tavern (Kl. 58 iv c/d, Knesebeck 55 IVc of IVd). Original soft-ground etching and aquatint, before mid-June, 1901. Edition: from the posthumouos edition of unknown size published by von der Becke between 1946/48 nd 1963/65 on thick, soft vellum with von der Becke's three-line Berlin-Halensee embossed seal. In a rare moment, Kollwitz here captures the amusement of two men dancing in a pub while a laughing woman watches them (and us!). Image size: 192x247mm. Price: $2000.

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