We covered I think one of Kathe Kollwitz illustration in my 19th C. art history course, and although I loved it at the time I kind of forgot about her afterward.
I came across her again recently because I was watching a thing on the Impressionists and noticed that they kind of forgot Mary Cassatt, and I was like, dammit, I’m going to go look up a bunch of female artists. I fell in love with Kollwitz’s work immediately.
I love this stuff the same way I love Goya—it’s bleak brutality and suffering, a world drowning in perpetual dusk and soot.
It bugs me that I don’t know her as well as I should; it bugs me that we leave artists like Kollwitz out of our canonical art history narrative. She’s good, and she deserves some appreciation, all the more so because she presents a woman’s perspective on class struggle and war, which is also often left out of wider historical narratives. (The hero of one of her print collections, for example, is Black Anna, leader of a peasant revolt. That’s her in the second picture up there. It’s wild stuff, and very different from the depictions of women you’ll typically see in major museums.)
Anyway, Kathe Kollwitz, ladies and gentlemen. Check her out.
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