Käthe Kollwitz Prints to be Exhibited at Atkinson Museum

September 1 - November 6, 2008

Picnic at Magna Carta Cottage, England, 1944

K. Kollwitz Woman with Bowed Head1905

On loan from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, twenty-seven prints by Prussian artist, Käthe Kollwitz, will open on September 1 at the Atkinson Museum.  The exhibition will remain on view through November 6

The exhibition, sponsored locally by the Fine Arts Department and the Atkinson Museum, was organized by VMFA's Statewide Exhibitions Program.  The Museum is open to the public Tuesday through Friday 12:30 to 5:00.

"The art of Käthe Kollwitz reflects the turbulent times in which she lived," says Eileen Mott, Coordinator Emeritus of the Statewide Exhibitions Program.  

"Born in 1867 in Kõnigsberg, East Prussia-known today as Kaliningrad, Russia-she lived from the era of the Franco-Prussian War, through World War I and the crushing inflation that followed, to the devastation wrought by World War II.  Horrified by the cruelties of war and the poverty which surrounded her, Kollwitz responded by portraying the effects of suffering upon the working class," Ms. Mott explains, "It is the intensity of her response to her subject matter that is the most striking characteristic of her work.  She finds beauty and meaning in the expressions and movements of the working class.  Their bodies, shaped by labor, appeared wonderful to her."

The exhibition, titled simply "Käthe Kollwitz", includes examples from her first major series, "The Weavers," which grew out of a performance she saw about the revolt of Silesian weavers in 1844.

Picnic at Magna Carta Cottage, England, 1944

K. Kollwitz Riot 1897, etching

"Her depiction of this drama caused a sensation, because it was one of the first times that such powerful pictures had shown workers and their conflicts sympathetically.  Soon after, she was acclaimed as one of the major German artists of her generation," Ms. Mott points out. 

While many of her prints and plates were destroyed, others were sold secretly or smuggled out of Germany.  These etchings in "Käthe Kollwitz" are re-strikes, printed from the surviving original plates after the artist's death in 1945. 


Additional information on the exhibition is available by telephoning Angie Way at 434-228-6134.