Death, Woman and Child

Kathe Kollwitz (German, 1867 – 1945)
Etching and aquatint
Sheet : 19 1/8 x 22 in. (48.58 x 55.88 cm)
Credit Line
Hope College Collection
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Kathe Kollwitz first trained as a painter in Munich and Berlin during the 1880s, but soon gave up painting in favor of printmaking and sculpture. Influenced by the German Expressionist school, Kollwitz drew on experiences in her own life to create powerful images dealing with the emotions of loss, fear and suffering. Death, Woman and Child is one of several prints Kathe Kollwitz created in 1910 in response to the near death of her son Hans from diphtheria. It depicts a mother hugging her child to her cheek while the spectral figure of death lurks over them and tries to steal him away. It is a powerful and haunting work and is widely regarded as one of Kollwitz’s masterpieces. Kollwitz’s training as a sculptor is clearly evident in the strong modeling of the figures’ faces, yet she has also taken advantage of the print medium to leave some aspects of the picture as suggestions outside the boundaries of the image.

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