From the exhibition brochure:
Kaethe Schmidt Kollwitz was born on July 1867, in Koenigsberg, East Prussia. Her maternal grandfather, a former Lutheran minister who had been expelled from the State Church, formed the first Free Religious Congregation in Germany and her father, who followed the trade of Master Mason, introduced her to Socialism. In 1891 she married Dr. Karl Kollwitz, a physician who shared her convictions.
In common with Goya and many other foremost artist of social criticism, she regarded the print media, with their possibilities of a wide distribution, as consistent with her democratic ideas, and in keeping with this attitude, her editions were never arbitrarily limited in numbers in order to make them precious collectors’ items.
From 1894 to 1898 she produced her series, “The Weavers,” which was inspired by Gerhart Haptmann’s play of the same name. This series when first shown in Berlin in 1898, was proposed for a gold medal by the artist jury but this honor was vetoed by the Emperor, who called it “gutter art.” A set was purchased by the Berlin Print Cabinet, however, and later the series was awarded gold medals in exhibitions in Dresden and London.
The book Kaethe Kollwitz, published by H. Bittner & Company, is recommeded and has been made available to gallery visitors through the courtesy of The Library of the Department of Art of the University of Chicago. The introduciton, written by Carl Zigrosser, who assembled the prints in this exhibition,is the source of the facts in this introduction.
The Renaissance Society expresses its appreciation to Mr. Carl Zigosser, Curator of Prints of the Philadelphia Museum of Art; Mr. Perry T. Rathbone, Director of the City Art Museum in St. Louis; and to Mr. H. Bittner, for valuable assistance in assembling this exhibition.