"Praying Girl" Kollwitz etching 1892



Artist:  Käthe Kollwitz (1867 Königsberg - 1945 Moritzburg)


Title:  Praying Girl (Betendes Mädchen)


Date:  1892 (This printing 1946-48) 


Medium:   Drypoint and soft-ground etching (vernis mou) on white wove paper. 


Signature:  Two-line blind stamp of the printer (AVDBECKE MUENCHEN22) - Alexander von der Becke -  lower right margin. 


Condition:  The etching is in very good/excellent condition with a strong impression. Slight creasing in the right margin extending faintly into the image is barely noticeable.  (See detail photo below)


Size:  Plate size: 196x150mm.   


Item No:  ART 021


Notes: Praying Girl is one of Kollwitz’s earliest works and yet it it already exhibits all the features that were to characterize her work. The portrait possesses an emotional intensity and an absolute concentration on the essential. The face of the girl, her eyes tightly shut, gleams in the darkness and her bony hands catch a ray of light. The artist’s dramatic command of light and shadow produces an image of timeless beauty and gravity. 


The etching is a tour de force in terms of its printing technique. Kollwitz conjures up a subtle play of textures and graphic patterns, skillfully combining different printing methods. The strong, dense cross-hatching of the background contrasts with the extraordinarily fine and sensitive line-work used for the hands and face and the gently tonal effect of the soft-ground etching (vernis mou) employed for the girl’s clothing. 


Art dealer Alexander von der Becke took over the inventory of Käthe Kollwitz's unsold prints as well as her printing plates after the bankruptcy of Galerie Emil Richter, Dresden, which had published Kollwitz's prints from about 1910 to 1930. Unlike Richter, von der Becke was unable to secure exclusive rights to publish Kollwitz's future prints, so with very few exceptions, such as her major series Death (executed 1934–37), published reprints of her earlier work in largely unsigned editions. Under the Nazi regime, he suffered from declining sales, as Kollwitz experienced increasing difficulty publishing and exhibiting her work. In 1941 the Gestapo closed his business and confiscated his stock. Re-established in 1946, he subsequently issued posthumous reprints of the thirty Kollwitz etching plates that survived the war. 


This impression is from von der Becke’s 1946/48 printing of Praying Girl.  At bottom right is the printer’s dry stamp AVDBECKE  MUENCHEN22.


References: Klipstein 11, Knesebeck 14V


Presented in a museum quality mat, ready to frame. 

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