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Käthe Kollwitz

Pietà

1938
Käthe Kollwitz was a printmaker and sculptor whose emotional subjects and technical skill made her popular in her native Germany and abroad, though the sombre expression of human suffering that characterized her work was also controversial. After marrying a physician with whom she had two children, she settled in a working-class neighbourhood. Her socialist ideas and compassion for her husband's patients, the urban poor, were evident in recurrent representations of tragedy and anguish. The subject of this sculpture, while religious, is consistent with her interest in the theme of mother and child, and may be related to the loss of her own son in the First World War.

– 1963/06
Private collection [1]

1963/10 –
National Gallery of Canada, purchased from a private collection through Jerrold Morris International Gallery, Toronto[2]

[1] See note [2].

[2] The NGC purchased the bronze in October 1963 from Toronto art dealer Jerrold Morris, who acted as an agent for an unknown collector [letter from Jerrold Morris to Robert Hubbard, Chief Curator, NGC, dated June 13, 1963, Accession records, NGC curatorial file].

Signed at back on right, near base: Kollwitz

Founder's stamp: H. Noack Berlin

Title
Pietà
Date
1938
Medium
Sculpture
Materials
bronze
Dimensions
36.8 x 28 x 39.1 cm
Nationality
German
Credit line
Purchased 1963
Accession number
15050