Käthe Kollwitz

Die Pflüger (The Ploughmen)

Die Pflüger (The Ploughmen) by Käthe Kollwitz

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This print belongs to Käthe Kollwitz's second great print cycle, The Peasants' War, and shows two peasants straining like beasts of burden under a plough. Behind them, crows wheel above the furrowed ground. The Peasant War was a violent revolution in the early years of the Reformation, breaking out in 1525 as a result of the inhuman treatment of peasants made virtual slaves by the crippling taxes and demands of compulsory labour imposed by the feudal nobility. Although concerned with an historically remote event, Kollwitz's series takes on a symbolic significance in that it also reflects the plight of the working class in Germany in the early 1900s. Kollwitz was a deeply-committed socialist who found beauty in the worn faces of the poor and sick who beat a path to her husband's Berlin surgery door. As an artist and an advocate of the downtrodden, she identified herself with the historic woman known as Black Anne, believed to have incited the peasants to riot. Hence she weaves historical and contemporary threads together, becoming one of the most dramatic graphic artists of her time. Kollwitz had intended to become a painter, but after reading Max Klinger's pamphlet 'Painting and Drawing', in which he elaborated his belief that the graphic arts were better suited to the expression of the darker aspects of life, she turned to drawing and printmaking. (from The Guide, 2001)

Title
Die Pflüger (The Ploughmen)
Artist/creator
Production date
1906
Medium
etching, aquatint, softground etching, drypoint
Dimensions
306 x 446 mm
Inscription
ve 94 (pencil - bottom left of sheet) published by Von de Becke, with his blindstamp
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1982
Accession no
1982/2
Copyright
No known copyright restrictions
Department
International Art
Display status
Not on display

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