- Museum number
Object: Losbruch (Outbreak)
Series: Bauernkrieg (The peasants' revolt)
A mob of armed peasants charges ahead, urged on by a woman with upraised arms; 4th state. 1902-1903
Etching, drypoint, aquatint, lift ground and soft ground with the imprint of two fabrics and Ziegler's transfer paper printed on heavyweight brown paper
- Production date
Height: 494 millimetres (maxiumum dimensions: sheet cut irregularly)
Width: 566 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- This is the fifth plate - and earliest plate to be finished - from Kollwitz's series 'Bauernkrieg' (The Peasants' Revolt), a cycle based on the Peasants' Revolt of 1522-5, which occurred in Germany during the Protestant Reformation. With the inclusion of 'Black Anna', the incendiary figure with upraised arms, this is the only plate from the series to represent an identifiable historical character or event. The Verbindung für historische Kunst (Society for Historical Art) commissioned the series, then published and distributed the seven plates to its members in 1908.
For the open-mouthed figures to her left. Kollwitz told painter Sella Hasse that she achieved the texture in the sky by applying Vernis mou [soft ground] to the plate, placing a piece of canvas over the ground, running the plate through the press and then etching the impression.
(Ssee Prelinger, 'Käthe Kollwitz', Washington National Gallery of Art exh cat, 1992, pp.33-39)
Text from Frances Carey & Antony Griffiths, 'The Print in Germany 1880-1933', BM 1984, no.38
This is the earliest of the published 'Bauernkrieg' plates to be finished. Four compositional drawings for the whole plate are known (Nagel 187-90) and four for the woman with raised arms (Nagel 191-4); for the open-mouthed figures to her left there are a drawing (Nagel 195) and three etchings (Klipstein 63-5). which are fascinating as experiments with varieties of grain from soft-ground etching and sugar-lift aquatint. In many ways the print can be seen as a rethinking of the etching of 1899, 'Aufruhr', with which she took up the subject of the Peasants'War.
The central figure is identified in the letter Kollwitz wrote to Arthur Bonus (see 1949,0411.3940) as 'Black Anna'. It is one of the most haunting figures in her entire work and it is therefore all the more remarkable to find that it is in fact derived from an illustration by Arthur Boyd Houghton of a scene in the Paris Commune published 'The Graphic' of 8 April 1871 (reproduced Paul Hogarth, 'Arthur Boyd Houghton', London 1981, p. 115).
For a discussion of the series see text from Frances Carey & Antony Griffiths, 'The Print in Germany 1880-1933', BM 1984, nos.34-40
Additional lit.: F. Carey and M. Egremont, 'Portrait of the Artist: Käthe Kollwitz' (Birmingham, Ikon, 2017), no. 33.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1984/5 Sep-Jan, BM, 'The Print in Germany 1880-1933', cat.38
1986 Jan-Mar, Norwich, Sainsbury Centre, 'Icon and Revolution'
1995 Jan-Mar, Lancaster, Peter Scott Gallery, Käthe Kollwitz
2017 13 Sep-26 Nov, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, Portrait of the Artist: Käthe Kollwitz
2017-2018 15 Dec-11 Mar, Young Gallery, Salisbury, Portrait of the Artist: Käthe Kollwitz
2018 24 Mar-17 Jun, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea, Portrait of the Artist: Käthe Kollwitz
2018 30 Jun-30 Sep, Ferens Art Gallery, Hull, Portrait of the Artist: Käthe Kollwitz
2019-20, 2 September-12 January, London, BM, G90, Portrait of the Artist: Käthe Kollwitz
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number