“CELEBRATED FOR THEIR DIRECTNESS, THEIR PENETRATING IMMEDIACY”: LARGE GELATIN SILVER PRINT OF KÄTHE KOLLWITZ, SIGNED BY JACOBI
JACOBI, Lotte. Photograph signed. Käthe Kollwitz. No place, circa 1970. Gelatin silver print (measures 10 by 13 inches), signed on print recto. Matted and framed, entire piece measures 16 by 19 inches. $7500.
Large gelatin silver print of the legendary German artist, this rarely seen image of a pensive Kollwitz captured by Jacobi the same day in 1931 as her more common portrait of the artist facing the camera, with Jacobi’s trademark penciled signature at the corner of this 10 by 13-inch print.
This large gelatin silver print of renowned artist Käthe Kollwitz, signed by Lotte Jacobi, catches Kollwitz in a moment at once pensive and restless, thus offering a rarely seen image that contrasts with Jacobi’s more common view of Kollwitz facing the camera. Jacobi took both photographs when Kollwitz was at her studio to be photographed “for a magazine Die Schaffende Frau [The Creative Woman] in 1931. She came wearing a lace collar and most of the pictures were made with it close around the neck. Toward the end Kollwitz reluctantly removed the collar,” a move that defines Jacobi’s exceptional work, with its considered artlessness. In her portraits of Kollwitz, Einstein, Robert Frost and others, “design and composition serve as vehicles of emotional expression however muted” (Wise, 19). It is this truth that strikes at the core of Jacobi’s brilliance in photographs “celebrated for their directness, their penetrating immediacy.”
In the glittering artistic world of early 1930s Berlin, both Kollwitz and Jacobi were well-known—Kollwitz as one of Germany’s most beloved artists and Jacobi as one of a famous family of photographers whose own work reflected a fresh “personal style and artistic voice. It was her contact with the thriving Berlin art community that galvanized her imagination… German Expressionist artists like Kollwitz and Grosz shared Jacobi’s interest in revealing human emotions” (Sundstom, 1, 5-6). Not long after this portrait was taken, Jacobi had to flee Nazi Germany and “much of her work was lost… Thousands of glass plates, countless files of negatives” (Wise, 8). She was “forced to leave behind more than 90 percent of her archives, all of which the Nazis destroyed” (New York Times). Kollwitz, similarly, was soon “forced to resign her post as director of graphic arts at the Prussian Academy of Arts… [and] an exhibition of her work was banned in 1936” (Moriarty, 12). Full-bleed gelatin silver print (measures 10 by 13 inches), with Jacobi’s trademark penciled signature at the lower right corner of print recto. Print date circa 1970. See White 151. From the estate of Lotte Jacobi.
A fine signed print.