Black crayon, pen and brush with ink and sepia on olive-green paper, white highlights in the background, NT (469a)
This work was published in Simplicissimus on the 1st of March 1909 under the title »Mistrust« and the caption »Damn, how cold it is! You’d be forgiven for thinking that God is a shareholder of a coal mine«. By emphasising the flatness of this composition, Käthe Kollwitz adapted it for a new printing technique used by the publishers.
Warm shelters were day centres which became increasingly common in big cities after the foundation of the Reich. For a few hours, they offered shelter from the cold for the homeless and unemployed as well as for the ‘shamefaced poor’ and usually provided a free or cheap warm drink and meal. The bigger centres sheltered up to 2,500 people per day. Alongside these day centres, there were night shelters for the homeless.
Käthe Kollwitz returned to this theme during the Weimar Republic in a number of works. During that period, it was above all women and children who were dependent on public social facilities such as soup kitchens as a result of food shortage after World War I.
Käthe Kollwitz, Women and Children waiting to be given Food, 1918-1919, pen and ink on firm vellum, NT (794a)
Käthe Kollwitz, Two Children eating, c 1927/1928, chalk and charcoal drawing on strong vellum, NT (1149a)
Käthe Kollwitz, Communal Kitchen, 1926-1928, black chalk and yellowish Ingres paper, NT (994a)