Kollwitz, Käthe, Beratung (Conspiracy), c. 1893-1897
Käthe Kollwitz, Lithograph, Beratung (Conspiracy), c. 1893-1897
|Artist:||Kollwitz, Käthe (1867 - 1945)|
|Title:||Beratung (Conspiracy), c. 1893-1897|
|Image Size:||10 3/4 in x 6 1/2 in (27.4 cm x 16.8 cm)|
|Framed Size:||31 1/4 in x 26 3/4 in (79.6 cm x 67.9 cm)|
|Edition:||According to Knesebeck, this work is a State B impression, from the editions by von der Becke as of 1931, printed in brown-black on copperplate paper.|
|Condition:||This work is in excellent condition.|
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Constructed on a sharp incline, Kollwitz does not allow the viewer to leisurely explore the image; rather the figures appear almost to topple from the scene directly confronting the viewer with their destitute state. While the image is shrouded in sharp contrasting shadows, the artist includes humanizing details such as the three hats that rest on the hooks behind the figures and the thick glass mugs that sit on the table. Kollwitz effectively makes the whole image vibrate around the emotional charge of the tightly huddled men. The gas lamp casts a seepy light; further intensifying the gaunt, skeletal appearance of the two men's faces. Further enhancing the ominous quality of the work, the artist discreetly places a noose-like rope just behind the four figures, a possible reference to the final outcome of their whispered conversation.
This lithograph was one of six lithographs and etchings included in the series inspired by Gerhart Hauptmann's, 1893, play entitled the The Weavers. According to Knesebeck, this work is a State B impression, from the editions by von der Becke as of 1931, printed in brown-black on copperplate paper.
Catalogue Raisonné & COA:
1.Klein Mina C. & H. Arthur, Kathe Kollwitz: Life in Art, 1975, listed on page 34.
2. Zigrosser, Carl, Prints and Drawings of Kathe Kollwitz, 1951, listed as plate 5.
3. Knesebeck, Alexandra von dem, Kathe Kollwitz Werkverzeichnis der Graphik, 2002, listed as plate 35.
4. A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany this work.
About the Framing:
|Style:||Expressionism, 20th Century German Modern Expressionist|
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Biography of Käthe Kollwitz
One of the most influential and famous German printmakers of the twentieth century, Käthe Kollwitz starkly depicted the plight of the poor and denounced the atrocities of war. Working at a time when many artists used their art to investigate formal problems, Kollwitz devoted herself to describing the human condition. She declined the use of color, letting her vigorously clear and articulate line express urgency and social purpose, and her simplification of form and the absence of extraneous detail contribute to the power of her work.
Käthe Schmidt Kollwitz was born to a large family in East Prussia which valued freedom, mutual respect, social activism, and spiritual dedication. Kollwitz recalled that "from my childhood on, my father had expressly wished me to be trained for a career as an artist, and he was sure there would be no great obstacles to my becoming one."(1)
She began formal training at age fourteen under the engraver Rudolf Mauer, and, at seventeen she moved to Berlin where she enrolled in the School for Women Artists. While a student in Berlin, Kollwitz's teacher encouraged her to seek out the work of Max Klinger. She went to see Klinger's series of etchings A Life at an exhibit which "excited me tremendously."(2) Captivated by Klinger's work and deeply influenced by the writings of Émile Zola, Kollwitz turned to etching and lithography to depict social issues. Her marriage in 1891 to physician Karl Kollwitz, and his medical practice in a poor, working class section of Berlin further exposed her to a wide range of suffering and tragedy which would become the subject of her work over the next fifty years.
1. Hans Kollwitz, ed. The Diary and Letters of Kaethe Kollwitz (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1988), 37.
2. Kollwitz, The Diary, 39.