Kathe Kollwitz (German, 1867-1945). Drawing (charcoal) on paper, ca. 1930s. Artist's signature and inscription to Salman Schocken written in pencil at lower right. A special drawing created by German Expressionist Kathe Kollwitz, depicting the clasped hands of a figure in profile, with a dedication to one of Kollwitz's important patrons, publisher and entrepreneur Salman Schocken, handwritten in pencil at the lower right. Salman Schocken (1877-1959) was a German-Jewish businessman, a publisher best known for publishing Franz Kafka in English, as well as a patron of the arts who appreciated the works of German Expressionists including George Grosz, Emil Nolde, Max Pechstein, Otto Dix, Hans Mueller, August Macke, Alexej von Jawlensky, and Kathe Kollwitz. Size (drawing): 9.25" L x 8.875" W (23.5 cm x 22.5 cm) Size (sheet backing drawing): 15.25" L x 11" W (38.7 cm x 27.9 cm)
About the artist: "Raised in a politically progressive middle-class family, Kollwitz enjoyed family support for her artistic ambitions. When she became engaged to a medical student in 1889, her father even sent her to study in Munich to persuade her to choose art over marriage. Following graduation, she returned to Berlin to marry her fiance Karl Kollwitz in 1891.
Though Kollwitz studied both painting and printmaking, she turned exclusively to the print in the early 1890s. Influenced by fellow German artist Max Klinger, she saw the potential of the print for social commentary. Prints could be reproduced inexpensively and in multiples, allowing her to reach more people.
For the next 50 years she produced dramatic, emotion-filled etchings, woodcuts, and lithographs—generally in black and white but sometimes including touches of color. Initially, her husband's working-class patients proved worthy models and subjects. Beginning in the teens, Kollwitz's subject matter came to reflect her experience as a witness to both World Wars. She was devastated by the suffering and loss of human life, including the loss of a son in the first war and a grandson in the second.
Although Kollwitz's wrenching subjects and virtuoso technique soon made her work popular throughout Germany and the Western world, they also generated controversy. In 1933, the Nazi government forced her to resign her position as the first female professor appointed to the Prussian Academy (in 1919); soon thereafter she was forbidden to exhibit her art.
During her final years, Kollwitz produced bronze and stone sculpture embodying the same types of subjects and aesthetic values as her work in two dimensions. Much of her art was destroyed in a Berlin air raid in 1943. Soon thereafter, Kollwitz evacuated to Moritzburg, a town just outside Dresden, where she died two years later." (National Museum of Women in the Arts website)
More about Salman Schocken: Salman Schocken was an entrepreneur, a publisher, a patron of the arts, as well as an avid collector and bibliophile. He is perhaps best known for his contributions to the publishing world. According to the Salman Schocken Foundation website, "Schocken’s publishing activities spanned three continents, and continues to thrive today. Schocken Verlag in Berlin, founded in 1931, was the largest Jewish publishing house in Germany, and the last publisher that operated freely under the Nazi regime. During these years, it was only through Schocken Verlag that German and Jewish readers could find works of Franz Kafka, Heinrich Heine, Martin Buber, and many other writers who were banned by the Nazis. Between 1931 and 1938, when the Nazi regime finally shut down the company, Schocken Verlag published close to 200 titles in fiction, history, philosophy, theology, and politics.
In 1935, Schocken bought a small Hebrew newspaper, named Ha'aretz, and nominated his son Gustav (Gershom) Schocken to be publisher and chief editor. He went on to found the Schocken Publishing House in Tel Aviv (1939), and Schocken Books in New York (1945), whose first chief editor was the acclaimed scholar Hannah Arendt. The first English versions of books by Kafka and Agnon were published by Schocken Books.
Schocken published most of the important European Jewish writers of the 20th century, including Franz Kafka, Martin Buber, Gershom Scholem, Walter Benjamin, and Hannah Arendt. He was a lifelong friend and mentor of S.Y. Agnon, who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1966. Schocken met Agnon in Berlin in 1915. Struck by Agnon’s unique talent, Schocken became Agnon's ardent patron and sole publisher, a relationship that lasted until Schocken’s death in 1959.
Under the leadership of Gustav Schocken, and later of his son Amos Schocken, Haaretz became a full-fledged daily newspaper. Today, Haaretz is considered the Israeli equivalent of the New York Times, and the publishing houses in New York and Tel Aviv are thriving. Schocken Books was acquired by Random House, and continues to operate as an independent division, under the Schocken imprint. The Publishers of Haaretz and the Schocken Publishing House in Tel Aviv are Amos Schocken and Racheli Edelman, respectively, Schocken's grandchildren." (Salman Schocken Foundation website)
Provenance: private Louisville, Colorado, USA collection
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Kathe Kollwitz's signature and inscription to Salman Schocken is handwritten in pencil at the lower right. Drawing is vivid as is the inscription. Paper presents with soft crease marks, uneven edges, and slight toning. Drawing is hinged at the top to a sheet of heavy gauge paper.