War, Käthe Kollwitz
Käthe Kollwitz
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Käthe Kollwitz

War, 1922 – 1923

Physical Description
Seven Woodcuts on Japanese paper
Inventory Number
SG 4283-4290
Object Number
SG 4283-4290 D
Acquired in 1964 from the collection of Helmut and Hedwig Goedeckemeyer
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About the Work

This cycle reflects Kollwitz’s development as a pacifist. In retrospect, she considered the readiness of mothers and sons to sacrifice themselves for the idea of the fatherland to have been one of the causes of World War I. The first two sheets in the War series revolve around this realization. The next three compositions focus on the suffering of the bereaved: the parents, widows, and orphans. In the last two prints, mothers place themselves before society like Virgins of Mercy to prevent further wars.

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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