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Self-portrait

Käthe Kollwitz (AKA Käthe Schmidt Kollwitz), German, (July 8, 1867–April 22, 1945)

Creation date: 1923
Creation place: Germany

Other Information

Type: Woodcut
Medium and Support: Woodcut, touched proof on wove paper
Credit Line: Museum purchase with funds provided by Alice Klauber and Mrs. Irving T. Snyder
Accession Number: 1945.30
Dimensions: 5 7/8 in. x 6 1/2 in. (14.92 cm x 16.51 cm)

Provenance

Galerie St. Etienne, New York, New York ( - September 12, 1945)

San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California (September 12, 1945 - )

Label Copy

AF, 2021
Kollwitz achieved recognition with her series of lithographs The Weavers (1897), documenting the 1844 Peasant Weavers Revolt. She was the only female artist in the Berlin Secession (Die Sezession) in 1920 when she began her friendship with Ernst Barlach. Thereafter she worked predominately in woodcuts and sculpture, capturing a sense of vitality and expressiveness in response to the trauma of World War I and its aftermath of dire poverty in the Weimar Republic.

The unblinking eye and objectivity that Kollwitz turned on the urban poor would also be turned back on the artist herself in a series of remarkable self-portraits created over the duration of her career. The present work is among the most direct and powerful of those images. What is more, it highlights Kollwitz’s work as a master printmaker, one of the greatest of the twentieth century. She worked in lithography, etching, and, as in the present work, woodcut. For all of the apparent roughness of the medium, however, even woodcuts were subject to careful refinements, as can be seen in this print. A proof state of the woodcut, Kollwitz has added a series of strokes in white paint, particularly in the right cheek, indicating changes that would be made to the woodblock for later impressions of the print.

Last Updated: 5/12/2021

Exhibition

This object was included in the following exhibitions:

Prints from Museum Collections Newport Harbor Museum of Art , 5/18/1966 - 6/12/1966

Käthe Kollwitz, 1867–1945: Prints, Drawings, Sculpture University of California, Riverside , 4/2/1978 - 5/5/1978

The Art of the Print San Diego Museum of Art , 10/26/1991 - 1/5/1992

Horrors of War San Diego Museum of Art , 2/25/2006 - 5/14/2006

The Famous Face: Portraiture in Prints from Dürer to Warhol University of San Diego , 3/2/2007 - 5/27/2007

The Human Beast: German Expressionism at The San Diego Museum of Art San Diego Museum of Art , 7/21/2012 - 11/11/2012

The Human Beast San Diego Museum of Art , 7/21/2012 - 11/11/2012

Bibliography

This object has the following bibliographic references:

Dr. Malcolm Warner. San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 1993
Page Number: 222, 246, Figure Number: 246

The Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego Catalogue: San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 1960
Page Number: 109

Julie Dunn, ed. The Famous Face: The University of San Diego. San Diego, California, 2007
Page Number: 17 no. 41

Marks

Number, Lower left:

Printed, B edge of sheet: (L A 53, No. 6, M586, 297), Lebabeth [sic] 1923

Signature, LR of plate impression:


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