Inventory photographed 2/23/2021
Inventory photographed 2/23/2021

Self Portrait

Kathe Kollwitz (German, 1867 – 1945)
First printed 1921
Sheet : 13 7/8 x 18 1/2 in. (35.24 x 46.99 cm)
Mat : 16 x 20 in. (40.64 x 50.8 cm)
Plate : 8 3/8 x 10 3/8 in. (21.27 x 26.35 cm)
Credit Line
Hope College Collection
Object Number

The devastation, suffering and loss of human life witnessed by artist Kathe Kollwitz in both world wars led her to a lifelong exploration of mourning as a universal human experience. This self-portrait is one of many in which Kollwitz depicts herself with her hand resting on, supporting, or obscuring part of her face. Unlike some of her other self-portraits, where she seems tense or anxious, in this portrait Kollwitz simply appears weary. The lines around her eyes are dark and heavy, and the manner in which she rests her head on her hand suggests exhaustion. She does not attempt to hide the lines on her forehead or the bags under her eyes. The heaviness of the engraving marks seem indicate the heaviness of her soul, and her eyes make her appear much older than she actually was at the time. While etchings are typically made using a needle, Kollwitz completed this piece with a burnisher, a blunt tool with a smooth rounded edge usually used to smooth or polish an area of a plate. Here, the burnisher allowed Kollwitz to make thicker, heavier, and longer lines. Kollwitz did not actually pull this impression herself; the stamp in the bottom right corner on the image indicates that it was pulled by her dealer Alexander von der Becke, who assumed control of Kollwitz's plates and unsold prints in the early 1930s.  [Madeleine Zimmerman ‘20] 

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Object Type