This lithograph is one of several Käthe Kollwitz made of working-class women while she was living in a poor section of Berlin. She drew the body and face with a crayon on the lithographic stone and covered the background with a waxy, uneven tone that contributes to the isolation and cold conveyed in the woman’s posture. Although Kollwitz did not formally join an Expressionist group, her work strongly reflects their directive to use empathy and emotion for social or political impact. She considered prints, with their reproducibility and relative affordability, as crucial to creating widescale compassion for the struggles and ills of the oppressed.
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