About this artwork

The choice of soft-ground etching here provides a degree of tonal subtlety in Kollwitz’s print which imitates drawing in print form. To produce this effect, Kollwitz would have laid a sheet of paper over a metal plate treated with a soft ground, then drawn onto the paper, the pressure of her pencil lifting areas of waxy ground from the plate for etching. Kollwitz made several drawings of heads, mainly from working-class women who she felt presented and expressed themselves openly with no disguises. She spoke of the 'gravity and tragedy of the most miserable kind of proletarian existence' visible in the appearance of the women who attended her husband's surgery.

Updated before 2020

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Käthe Kollwitz

Käthe Kollwitz

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