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Few artists are as universally beloved as the German printmaker, draftsman, and sculptor Kathe Kollwitz, whose powerful images of mothers and children and of protest against social injustice have long been admired by both critics and the public. Kollwitz, a woman in a field dominated by men, steadfastly adhered to a figurative style in the era of abstraction and depicted socially engaged subject matter when it was unfashionable.
Kollwitz is largely known through political posters and restrikes of her prints. Her reputation has to some extent been dominated by an emphasis on the social content of her work, often at the expense of her remarkable artistic skills. The present study challenges that view by focusing on the artistic aspect of her achievement.
The book consists of three essays on Kollwitz. Elizabeth Prelinger provides a reassessment of Kollwitz as an artist; Alessandra Comini presents a richly atmospheric discussion of the artist's life in Berlin during the tumultuous period that spanned two world wars; and Hildegard Bachert surveys the reception of Kollwitz in Germany and the United States as manifested in collections of her works. The volume, which includes a selection of the finest examples of Kollwitz' oeuvre, juxtaposes preparatory drawings with finished art, illustrating the arduous experimental processes by which she attained her brilliant results. Themes important to Kollwitz--such as self-portraits, social activism as illustrated in the cycles A Weavers' Rebellion and Peasants' War, love and death, nudes, workers, war and revolution--are explored in depth in all media.
The book will serve as the catalogue for an exhibition of Kollwitz' prints, drawings, and works of sculpture at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, from May 3 to August 26, 1992.
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This monograph, prepared to accompany a striking exhibition, provides important information on the life and art of one of the 20th century's most influential figurative artists. Kollwitz's brutally unadorned social commentary, with particular reference to the atrocities of Nazi Germany, continues to have the power to touch many viewers. The English-language text of this scholarly work is particularly useful, because most publications on Kollwitz are in German--the notable exception being the translated catalogue raisonne by Tom Fecht, Kathe Kollwitz: Works in Color (Schocken, 1988). Prelinger's insightful reappraisal of Kollwitz's aesthetic values and techniques are accompanied by Alessandra Comini's and Hildegard Bachert's fine essays. Even more than the good-quality plates, this book's text and its survey of German and American collections make it essential for research libraries.
- Paula A. Baxter, NYPL
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description National Gallery of Art / Yale University Press. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0300057296 New Condition. Seller Inventory # NEW7.0070115
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