Käthe Kollwitz in Dresden

Petra Kuhlmann-Hodick, Agnes Matthias, Alexandra von den Knesebeck and Hannelore Fischer

Paul Holberton Publishing, 176pp, £30, €35, $40 (pb)

Portrait of the Artist: Käthe Kollwitz

Frances Carey and Max Egremont

The British Museum Press and Ikon Gallery, 156pp, £20 (pb)

Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945) is properly garnering more specialist attention for several reasons: the quality of her work, and the new light being shed on the work of women artists, in practice a minority too often treated as though each outstanding practitioner is the exception that proves the rule.

Kathe Kollwitz in Dresden is a remarkable and unusual book, a genuinely original contribution to art history. It explores in depth not only Kollwitz’s work, notably on paper – prints and drawings – but also her professional relationship with the scholar, connoisseur and curator, Max Lehrs (1855-1938) who was the director of the prints, drawings and photographs cabinet of the Dresden State Museums (now housed in the Residenz, the royal palace in the centre of Dresden). He was himself an outstanding expert on early Netherlandish prints but believed passionately in contemporary art.

He systematically bought her work, eventually creating a collection of several hundred prints and a score of drawings. Dresden was the first public collection to collect her prints, and his public patronage was a decisive factor in her growing reputation. Their correspondence was extensive and a selection is published here for the first time. Read more