Charcoal on grey-blue Ingres paper, NT 688
This self-portrait can be dated around 1910 and shows the artist in her favourite pose – her arm resting on the table and her head supported by the hand on her forehead while looking into the mirror and concentrating on her drawing.
In her drawings and prints, the artist portrayed herself again and again in this pensive, often explorative and always self-reflective manner. Even photographers such as Hugo Erfurt often captured Käthe Kollwitz in this pose.
The softness of the charcoal, which she tried out on the margin of the sheet, and the strong chiaroscuro effects that are the result of a light source from the bottom left, result in a sensuous expression that is rare in the artist’s work.
This sheet from the artist’s estate also reveals the photosensitivity of some of the papers used by Kollwitz.