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Indepth Arts News:

"Käthe Kollwitz: The Art of Compassion"
2003-03-01 until 2003-05-25
Art Gallery of Ontario
Toronto, ON, CA

The Art Gallery of Ontario is proud to present Käthe Kollwitz: The Art of Compassion, from March 1 to May 25, 2003, an exhibition that explores the creative process of one of the leading German artists of the first half of the 20th century. Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945) experimented endlessly to create dramatic, highly-charged prints and drawings that include her haunting self-portraits, as well as portrayals of motherhood, sacrifice and oppression. Through her exposure to the horrors of two world wars and the extreme poverty of the Berlin neighbourhood where she lived, Kollwitz came to see herself as “the voice of suffering” and “an advocate” for the people.

In times of crisis, many seek solace and meaning in art. “Kollwitz’s art encourages reflection and pause,” stated Matthew Teitelbaum, AGO director and CEO. “It suggests that we reach into the sadness at the core of contemporary life and pull from it the vestige of hope and belief in the future.” As Kollwitz delved beneath the surfaces of the lives of working-class women, her instinctive, heartfelt empathy for their plight inspired the creation of an art of great emotional presence and power - an art of true compassion.

This exhibition explores the artist’s development over a 50-year career and includes prints, drawings and sculpture. Among the 75 works are 30 outstanding drawings from the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, most of which have never before been seen outside Germany. Käthe Kollwitz: The Art of Compassion has been organized by the AGO and celebrates the treasures found in local collections, as well as the Stuttgart drawings.

As a complement to the exhibition, the AGO will produce a 72-page catalogue which will include a brief history of the Stuttgart’s Kollwitz collection by the former curator Dr. Gunther Thiem; an overview of Kollwitz’s life and art by Brenda Rix, AGO assistant curator of prints and drawings; and a major essay by Kollwitz scholar Jay Clarke, associate curator of prints and drawings, Art Institute of Chicago.

The Art Gallery of Ontario’s collection comprises more than 36,000 works representing 1,000 years of extraordinary European, Canadian, modern, Inuit and contemporary art. This important collection, along with the Gallery’s pre-eminence in art education programs, makes the AGO one of Canada’s most significant public resources for the advancement of the visual arts in Canada.

Käthe Kollwitz
German (1867-1945)
Lamentation: In Memory of Ernst Barlach, who died in 1938 (Grief)
Bronze — 26.5 x 25.7 x 10.2 cm
Art Gallery of Ontario
Gift from the Junior Women’s Committee Fund, 1963
© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

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