Self-portrait »en face«, 1904

crayon and brush lithograph with spray technique in four colors, Kn 85 II A

Käthe Kollwitz, Self-Portrait »en face«, 1904, crayon and brush lithograph with spray technique in four colors, Kn 85 II A, Cologne Kollwitz Collection © Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln

Käthe Kollwitz’ »Self-portrait en face« is a lithograph that is among the most impressive works by the artist. She used a sophisticated technique by creating a print in three or four colours. Alongside the lithographic stone for the face and neck, she used up to three colouring stones – one for the dark frame around face and neck, one for the background in the top part and one for the dress. This latter stone was, however, only used in four prints.

The dark framing – printed black in this copy – is unique in the artist’s work and creates a vivid contrast to the light-coloured face which was drawn in a sculptural manner to create an almost three-dimensional effect. This is evidence of her growing interest in sculpture, and it can very probably be dated around 1904 as the artist spent two months at the Académie Julian in Paris that year to study the basics of sculpting.

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