Käthe Kollwitz: Prints, Process, Politics Now on View at Getty Research Institute
Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a safe and wonderful holiday season and is enjoying a prosperous new year. I, for one, am feeling refreshed and rarin’ to go and already have a a great group of recommendations for you. This first one may not be the most cheerful but it’s completely engrossing and well worthy of a trip to the Getty. I’m referring to the new exhibition at Getty Research Institute entitled Käthe Kollwitz: Prints, Process, Politics which I was able to view recently.
If you are unfamiliar with Käthe Kollwitz I completely understand. Admittedly, I had never heard of her prior to viewing the exhibition which is particularly embarrassing because I majored in Art History and my grandma is from the very same region as Ms. Kollwitz and knows her work quite well. Regardless, I’m glad I now know of her because she was an important artistic figure of the 20th Century who offered a fascinating glimpse into her time period, especially in the realms of poverty, injustice and war.
Käthe Kollwitz was born in Königsberg, Prussia and showed artistic promise from an early age. She studied painting at art school but did not pursue it in her career. Instead she turned to printmaking and, through self teaching, became adept at etchings, woodcuts and lithography. Born into a politically active, Socialist household a concern for injustice and social upheaval directly impacted her work and war and its aftermath is a common theme.
One of her greatest works, Peasants’ War, which consists of 7 prints is on display at the exhibition. A modern re-imagining of a 16th century German event in which the mistreated peasants rose up against those in power, it’s a beautiful yet heart-rendering series. All seven pieces are on display along with their corresponding preparatory works. For each we see finished piece as well as one or two drafts which offers a fascinating insight into the artistic mind.
The entire exhibition is a fascinating insight into the works of this renowned artist and the subject matter she represents and we can thank Dr. Richard Simms for this. An avid collector he became fascinated with the work of Käthe Kollwitz and was determined to build a great collection. Over a 40 year period he collected over 650 works which offer an unparalleled view into Ms. Kollwitz’s life and work. The Dr. Richard A. Simms Collection is now held at the Getty and from it the exhibition was born.
Käthe Kollwitz: Prints, Process, Politics is currently on display at Getty Research Institute through March 29, 2020. It’s an engrossing exhibition that offers true insight into one of the 20th Century’s greatest artists. It’s not to be missed.