Käthe Kollwitz

German (1867-1945)

Gedenkblatt Für Karl Liebknecht (1963-1972)

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etching, aquatint, sandpaper, reservage and soft ground with the imprint of laid paper
plate: 11 x 6 1/4 inches overall: 21 3/4 x 16 inches
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Frame Information
the estate of Jerome Lurie, labor attorney and law partner of Sidney E. Cohn
good condition, water droplet marks and soiling throughout, mat and support are damaged, sheet is in good condition
'Der Trauernde / The Mourner '(Kl. 137 v Ab, Knesebeck 145bis). Original etching, aquatint, sandpaper, reservage and soft ground with the imprint of laid paper, 1919.

On January 15, 1919, Karl Liebknecht was murdered by the voluntary militia. Kollwitz was horrified by the 'scandalous, despicable murder'. She received permission to draw Liebknecht in the mortuary. Kollwitz began the Liebknecht memorial work as an etching. According to a diary entry of March 15, 1919, 'Today I began work on the ‘Lamentation’”. Late March, 1919, she wrote: 'I am working on ‘Funeral’. In the process of working it out it has gradually become a farewell to Liebknecht.' As of early October, 1919, Kollwitz revised the Liebknecht memorial as a lithograph, and in fall, 1920, she executed it finally as a woodcut (nr. 159). About the first, etched version, Kollwitz remarked to Heinrich Becker in a letter dated June 1, 1929 (Käthe Kollwitz an Dr. Heinrich Becker, Briefe, Bielefeld, 1967, p. 3): 'A series of state proofs exists for the etching ‘Memorial for Karl Liebknecht’. The plate is spoiled and was not completed.'

No edition was published until after Kollwitz' death. This example is from the 1963/65-1972 edition with von der Becke's Munich seal.

essay courtesy of Speightwood Galleries