Käthe Kollwitz and the Women of War Femininity, Identity, and Art in Germany during World Wars I and II Claire C. Whitner, Claire C. Whitner, Henriëtte Kets de Vries, Darcy Buerkle, Anjeana Hans, Joseph McVeigh, Annette Seeler

Publication date:
10 May 2016
Davis Museum and Cultural Center at Wellesley College
144 pages: 279 x 216mm
66 color + 55 b-w illus.

The art of German printmaker and sculptor Käthe Kollwitz (1867–1945) is famously empathetic; Kollwitz imbued her prints, drawings, and sculpture with eloquent and often painful commentary on the human condition, especially the horrors of war.  This insightful book, the first English-language catalogue on Kollwitz in more than two decades, offers the singular opportunity to examine her work against the tumultuous backdrop of World Wars I and II. The societal cost of war became an enduring subject for Kollwitz after her youngest son died on the battlefield in Flanders in 1914.  She dedicated much of the remainder of her career to creating images that questioned the efficacy of war, exposed its devastation, and promoted peace.  The essays discuss the motifs she developed in this pursuit—young widows, grieving parents alongside maternal figures that serve as defenders, guardians, activists, and mourners—within the context of German visual culture from 1914 to 1945. 

Claire C. Whitner is associate curator at the Davis Museum at Wellesley College.