While you are at the AGO …

Detail from a small Kollvitz etching, a self-portrait at a table. 1893

When you go to the Art Gallery of Ontario, don’t miss Part III of the Käthe Kollovitz series of special exhibits. She produced some masterful works of art, especially drawings and prints, but also sculpture.

“Help Russia” was drawn to illustrate a propaganda poster. Kollvitz, 1921

You may feel, as I do, that Kollovitz sometimes goes overboard in her effort to win  viewers’ sympathy for her suffering subjects, but you will not question her sincerity. Her personal loss of a son to the senselessness of war struck deep. She had credentials.

Detail of a drawing of a worker. That mouth could have been by Rembrandt.

If you can get past the relentless misery and gloom, Kollowitz offers beautiful draftsmanship, composition and form. She is heir to centuries of European art history, especially northern European, and serves the tradition with a modernist’s gift for simplicity

Black and white, heads and hands are Kollovitz’s great strengths.

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