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Käthe Kollwitz: The Art of Compassion

March 1 - May 25, 2003


Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945) was a leading 20th century German artist. The exhibition consists of 75 works, including 30 rare drawings from the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Germany, and 45 prints, drawings and sculptures from public and private collections in Ontario. This comprehensive selection will provide an overview of Kollwitz's work, documenting her artistic development over a fifty-year career. This is the first major exhibition of the artist's work to be organized in Canada since 1962. The Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart collection contains some of the artist's most outstanding drawings which have never been seen as a group outside Germany.

Kollwitz's art was rooted in socialism and naturalism, and focused on the lives of the common people, usually working class women. Through her involvement in the sufferings of the poor in the slums of Berlin, her exposure to the horrors of two world wars, and the experience of living through several personal tragedies, she came to see herself as the "voice of suffering" and "an advocate" for the people. Among her preferred themes were motherhood, sacrifice, separation, oppression and death. She also created many moving self-portraits.


Published by the AGO, this 72-page catalogue will include 45 reproductions (15 colour, and 30 b&w). Contents of the catalogue include: a brief history of the Stuttgart Kollwitz collection by the former curator Dr. Gunther Thiem; an overview of Kollwitz's life and art by Brenda Rix; and a major essay by Kollwitz scholar, Jay Clarke, Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings, Art Institute of Chicago.

Organized by the

Art Gallery of Ontario, with drawings from the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart / Graphische Sammlung

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