51 thoughts on “German anti war artist Käthe Kollwitz

  1. Very stirring ‘street art’ in Germany. The German artist Gunther Demning with his ‘Stolpersteine” project (hobble stones) gives back the original deported / deceased Jews’ properties. Gunther Demning took upon himself the enormous project as to relocate & reconnect them with the original inhabitant / owner.

    In front of each house, on the pavement, some 40 cm away from the front wall, copper plaquettes, hobble stones (10 x 10 cm) with the names of the holocaust victims & final destination remind of the horrendous deportation of Jews from German cities.

    Whether the sun shines or whether it rains – the glitter of the shiny copper squares attracts the attention, draws one to have another look – tells the brief story of an individual who used to live in this house. The shiny glitter reminds of a fleeting image of an elusive soul, a lost abeloved, a lost friend, a lost neighbour.

    I started documenting some of these name tablets in the German cities.

    Stolpersteine Günter Demnig. (hobblestones)

    For a map please have a look at: http://www.stolpersteine.com


  2. Fwd from scott:

    I am trying to connect with other anti-war groups outside of the USA. Google, the main search engine does not list many,except for a few UK sites. In particular, I would like to network with others who are artist to use the power of Art to create change. The NEWS in the US is void of real information. We see almost nothing about the war and so most Americans think nothing of it! It is only when something is leaked and then there is quick action to cover it up. I hope that a movement for change can be created globally and that would bring the American people to take action. My e-mail is scott@bush-it-usa.com


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  43. Also this month [September 1917]: Käthe Kollwitz works on memorial for her fallen son

    The Grieving Parents, Sculpture (1914–1932) for her son Peter

    In September 1917, the painter and sculptor Käthe Kollwitz works on a memorial for her son Peter who was killed in the First Battle of Ypres. She has been working on it since 1914, but stops frequently.

    Immediately after the beginning of the war, the 18-year-old Peter wanted to volunteer for military service but needed the consent of his father. His father was against the war and initially declined. An older son, Hans, was already drafted. Käthe Kollwitz was against it at first but finally changed her mind. She writes in her memoirs in 1943: “How it came to be that I underwent this change is not entirely clear to me. I cursed the war, I knew that it would mean the greatest hardship. That I did not resist is probably due to the fact that I was unable to be entirely one with the boy in these times.”

    It is clear from the entries in her diary that the character of the war was not really clear to her at this time. She and her husband were both members of the Social Democratic Party, which did everything it could to justify the vote for war credits to its followers, presenting the war as a defensive one. She let herself be carried away by Peter’s war fever and helped him change his father’s mind. On October 13, 1914, the young volunteer, poorly trained with a barely healed knee injury, went to war. “Hard day, very hard day,” Kollwitz wrote in her diary. Ten days later he was dead. “It is a wound in our lives that will never heal and is not meant to,” she wrote.

    In the following years, she criticized the war and attempted to cope with her pain by working on the memorial for her son. She initially began by sculpting Peter’s head. Then she designed a relief: mourning parents embracing each other with heads bowed. During this time, she also created one of her most important sculptures, Pietà, a barely 40-centimeter tall bronze statue. (A copy four times its size is placed in the Neue Wache in Berlin, the “Central Memorial of the Federal Republic of Germany for the Victims of War and Dictatorship.”)

    In September, she writes in her diary: “Worked this week … good. I see more clearly that this path leads to my goal, but also, that the goal is still so far away that years will pass before I am finished with Peter’s work … If I do this really well, there will be in this work much other work that would otherwise have to be expressed separately … with unending slowness I discover what this should be.” She will take a total of 18 years before completing the memorial. (It stands today in the Vladslo German war cemetery in Belgium.)

    Kollwitz’s grief over her son and the experience of the war go hand-in-hand with increasingly strong partisanship for the poor and oppressed and their artistic representation. She takes part in peace rallies. Attentively and full of hope, she follows the developments of the revolution in Russia. She writes on November 8: “In Russia the tremendously important revolutions. The revolutionary socialists are in the government. They want to organize Russia socialistically, communistically. Max Wertheimer [a friend] expects the same spirit in Russia to spread throughout Europe. He believes in a vast moral uprising.” At the end of the year, she writes: “Russia has given us new prospects. Something new has now come into the world, something which seems to me definitely good.”

    What she began in 1897 with her cycle on the “Weaver’s Revolt” and in 1908 with the “Peasant War,” she continues in a new form after the war with etchings and her famous charcoal drawings like “Bread,” “Killed in Action,” and “Never Again War.” After the murder of Karl Liebknecht, she dedicates a woodcut to him.



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