Galerie St. Etienne
Becoming Kathe Kollwitz
The Galerie St. Etienne concludes the autumn season with an exhibition that sheds important light on the development of one of Germany¹s most enduring and endearing modern artists, Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945). Based on significant new research by German scholars, BECOMING KÄTHE KOLLWITZ: An Artist and Her Influences traces the evolution of Kollwitz¹s potent iconography from sources as disparate as Rembrandt, Millet, Edvard Munch and Ernst Barlach. In addition to major works by these and other masters, the exhibition incorporates most of Kolwitz¹s signature images, concluding with her extremely rare final lithograph, Grain for Sowing Must Not Be Milled. The show is both a specific tribute to Kollwitz and a more general study of the manner in which artists build on the past to forge new styles.
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Although traditional studies of modernism tend to idealize the manner in which (mostly male) artists severed all ties with the past, the cumulative nature of creativity is amply demonstrated by the example of Käthe Kollwitz. Bridging the 19th and 20th centuries, Kollwitz never disowned her classical training, but rather melded it with more contemporary influences to create an original modern style. From traditional historical and Biblical narratives, the brooding emotive figures of the Symbolists, and the stark shorthand gestures of the Expressionists, she developed a repertoire of forms and themes that not only perfectly expressed her socially-oriented messages, but could be readily understood by her public. Addressing a world rife with injustice, Kollwitz used pictorial references to the past to place contemporary life in perspective and to inspire hope for the future.
A detailed checklist of the exhibition, with descriptive essay, will be sent free of charge upon request.