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Witness: Käthe Kollwitz

January 21 - April 13, 2014

Opening Reception: Saturday, January 25, 5-7 PM

German artist Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945) lived and worked in the midst of tremendous political and social upheaval. Born into an ardently socialist family, Kollwitz examined of the impact of war, poverty, and oppression, often through the perspective of female protagonists. In her diary, she described her desire to depict a figure “who sees the suffering of the world.” Kollwitz was that empathetic witness. She strongly identified with the subjects of her images, from Black Anne, a central figure in the German Peasants’ War of 1524-25, to the patients in her husband’s medical office in a working-class neighborhood of Berlin.

“Witness: Käthe Kollwitz” features works in several graphic mediums—wood block, lithography, etching, and drypoint—drawn from Pomona College’s collection. The exhibition includes self-portraits from the 1920s and 1930s, alongside images that unflinchingly depict death, poverty, and violence against women. The works attest to Kollwitz’s power as a passionate observer, as well as her extraordinary technical abilities, and led art historian Lucy Lippard to reflect, “the dramatic depth and formal weight of Kollwitz’s own images are carved in the flesh and bone of her subjects’ lives.”

This exhibition is presented in conjunction with the West Coast premiere of the song-cycle, Kollwitz-Konnex (…im Frieden seiner Hände), composed by Ralf Yusuf Gawlick, and performed by Scripps faculty member Anne Harley and internationally renowned guitarist, Eliot Fisk. The performance, which will be held on March 27, 2014, is co-sponsored by the Pomona College Museum of Art, Scripps Departments of Music and Art, Intercollegiate German Studies, the European Union Centre, and the O'Brien Distinguished Professor Fund, through the Scripps Office of the Dean of Faculty.