KATHE KOLLWITZ’S CLASSIC IMAGE, FAMILLE II, ORIGINAL LITHOGRAPH SIGNED IN PENCIL BY THE ARTIST
KOLLWITZ, Käthe. Famille, II. Fassung [Family, Second Version]. Original lithograph, signed in pencil. [Berlin: 1931]. Measures 20 by 16 inches, matted. $9000.
Lovely and famous original Kollwitz lithograph of a family, depicting a baby reaching over its father’s shoulder for its smiling mother, signed by the artist in pencil in the lower right corner.
“It may seem surprising that there is a considerable number of works among Käthe Kollwitz’ ?uvre which show mothers with one or more children in carefree mood. Kollwitz did not only portray the poverty and need of working-class life in children, but also the happy moments in the lives of these people. While these themes pervade the artist’s entire work, there was a concentration in the second half of the 1920s when the worst poverty of the post-war period had abated. In the drawings the children are not exactly bursting with vitality, they are hardly ever playing unlike, for example, in the works of the Impressionists, and they are asleep or daydreaming. They are rarely portrayed alone, they are almost always with their mother, leaning up against her, sitting on her lap or held in her arms. They enjoy the intimate closeness of their mother who turns lovingly towards them or simply gives them a sense of protective security. There are very few works, in which as in this lithograph, fathers also occur” (Käthe Kollwitz Museum, Köln). Kollwitz completed this lithograph in 1931; after the rise to power in 1933 of the National Socialists, she was forced to leave her position in the Preußische Akademie der Künste. By 1935 there was an unofficial ban in place against exhibiting any of her work. Though threatened with deportation to a concentration camp, by the war years she had attained too great an international standing for the Nazis to follow through on their threats.