Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Käthe Kollwitz: Life in Art, by Mina C. Klein and H. Arthur Klein, is the moving narrative of a woman’s courageous attempt to become an artist at a time when women were expected to be wives and mothers, excluding all other goals and setting aside the enthusiasms of their youth. At the same time, the book depicts Germany’s failed struggle for world hegemony, while offering a convincing witness to one woman’s pacifist convictions. “Never again war” is the motto that runs through the work and life of Kollwitz, a conviction only strengthened by the loss of her oldest son, Peter, in the earliest days of World War I and by the loss of her grandson, also named Peter, on the Russian front in World War II. Because Kollwitz exhibited socialist, perhaps even communist, sympathies in her personal convictions and especially in her prints, lithographs, woodcuts, and sculptures, she was a persona non grata during the terrible years of National Socialism or Nazism, from 1933 to 1945, which were also the final years of her life.

Kollwitz produced remarkable black-and-white works of art over the course of her life; rarely was color a factor. The authors convey a genuine impression of the feeling and intention of the artist with the careful reproductions that accompany the text. Each print is explained both under the picture and in the text, and attributions are given, noting where the work of art was currently located. Because the chapters are...

(The entire section is 484 words.)