Lament, Käthe Kollwitz
Käthe Kollwitz
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  • Lament, Käthe Kollwitz
  • Lament, Käthe Kollwitz
  • Lament, Käthe Kollwitz
  • Lament, Käthe Kollwitz

Käthe Kollwitz

Lament, 1938 – 1941 (Guss 1960)

26.5 x 26.5 x 8 cm
Physical Description
Inventory Number
Acquired in 1965
On display, Special Exhibitions


About the Work

This is the mute lament of an artist, perpetuated in bronze. The image speaks of pain, grief and incomprehension: the overlarge, powerful hands are placed protectively over the mouth and eye, as if wanting to no longer be compelled to see the terrible events, or to suppress a scream. With this relief created during the Nazi dictatorship, Kollwitz recalls her artist friend Ernst Barlach, who had died in 1938 and who was ostracised like her. As early as 1920 she had formulated her artistic task timelessly and with universal validity: "I shall give voice to the suffering of man, which never ceases."

About the Acquisition

Immediately after World War I, the art connoisseur and bibliophile Helmut Goedeckemeyer (1898–1983) began amassing one of the largest collections of prints by Käthe Kollwitz. He supplemented these holdings with works of late nineteenth-century French and German printmaking, illustrated books by Max Slevogt, Alfred Kubin and others, and small-scale sculptures by such artists as Aristide Maillol. His collection ultimately encompassed more than 5,000 works. Goedeckemeyer’s close ties to the Städel Museum date back to the 1920s. From 1959 onwards, he and his wife Hedwig were members of the Städelscher Museums-Verein (Städel Museum Association). The City of Frankfurt acquired his Kollwitz collection for the Städtische Galerie (Municipal Gallery) in 1964. He made several gifts to the Städel collection of prints and drawings over the years, and in 1970 presented the museum with Honoré Daumier’s “Ratapoil” (inv. no. St.P391).

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