Self-Portrait in profile to the left
  • Käthe Kollwitz
  • Königsberg 1867 - 1945 Moritzburg / Dresden
  • Self-Portrait in profile to the left, circa 1924
  • Charcoal on bluegrey paper,
  • signed with pencil on the lower right: Käthe Kollwitz
    inscribed by A. Klipstein on the verso:
    Die Orig.-Zeichnung, deren Umdruck S(ievers) 171 ergab. /
    Signiert wurde dieses Blatt im Sommer 39
  • 648 × 445 mm
Dr. August Klipstein, Bern (1885-1951)
private collection Switzerland

Our large-format sheet is the recently rediscovered preliminary study for a 1924 chalk lithograph (Fig. 1). This rare print was first published in 1927 by Arthur Bonus1 under the title The Woman Worker, approved by Käthe Kollwitz, which explains the emphasis upon the hands in her drawing. But the striking profile of the sitter reveals this work also to be a self-portrait of the artist, who identified all of her life with the working class.

In the summer of 1939, August Klipstein, a Swiss art historian, print dealer, and collector, visited Käthe Kollwitz one last time in Berlin. On this occasion, he had her belatedly sign this work, which he had recently acquired on the Berlin art market for his own collection. There is a second, slightly altered version of the same subject in the Allen Memorial Art Museum in Oberlin, Ohio2.

The drawing shown here appears in the addendum to Hannelore Fischer’s catalogue raisonné under the number 1024a.

  1. Arthur Bonus: Das Käthe Kollwitz Werk,
    Dresden 1927, no. 157
  2. Otto Nagel: Die Selbstbildnisse der Käthe Kollwitz,
    Berlin 1965, no. 64 (ill.)
    charcoal on paper, 604 × 478 mm,
    signed and dated: Käthe Kollwitz /1924