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  • Writer's pictureBeyond the Canvas

Making Modernism at the Royal Academy, London

"It is my duty to voice the suffering of men, the never-ending sufferings heaped mountain-high." — Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945)

The bundling up of female artists in an art show will forever remain one of my most gigantic and infuriating pet peeves. Besides, it is my firm belief that this show could and should have been an exclusive and much overdue celebration of Käthe Kollwitz's art. In my questionably modest view, her work is vastly superior to the rest in terms of intensity, complexity and quality.

Kollwitz, who trained as a draftswoman and painter at women's academies in Berlin and Munich, was a self-taught printmaker. Her models were her children and her husband's female patients. All her life, she depicted suffering, war and desperation, using her somber dark lines to illustrate the grief and hardships of the people, hers included (her 17-year old son Peter would never return from the front), with profound humanity and compassion.

Don't get me wrong, there are many beautiful pictures on display in this show, but I do not feel like any of them match the rawness and depth of emotion conveyed by Kollwitz's. It's like they don't have anything in common and therefore shouldn't be in the same exhibition. But they are, so go before February 12th and make your own mind up.

#käthekollwitz #makingmodernism #royalacademy #london #expressionism #modernart #drawing #etching #print #artblog #beyondthecanvasblog

Käthe Kollwitz

Self-portrait, 1889

Kopf eines Kindes in Händen der Mutter, 1900

Frau mit totem Kind, 1903

Love scene, 1909-10

Self-portrait, 1934

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