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ID number:  BIRBI-91.1
Institution:  The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker:  Kollwitz, Käthe (1867-1945)
Title / Object name:  Help Russia
Object type:  Print
Place made:  Berlin
Culture:  German
Date made:  1921
Materials:  Lithograph
Provenance:  Purchased from the William Weston Gallery, London, June 1991
BIRBI-91.1.jpg

A suffering and emaciated man is embraced by two pairs of tough-looking hands. Designed as a propaganda poster during the Russian Civil War, this lithograph demonstrates the artist’s sensibility to the social conditions of the working class. The print medium serves as a useful tool for spreading pacifist and political messages.

Kollwitz’s depiction of an emaciated figure forms the design
for a poster made for International Workers’ Aid, a relief
organisation fighting poverty and injustice after World War
One. In 1921 a disastrous grain harvest led to famine in Russia.
In a diary entry Kollwitz wrote: ‘Help Russia. Work with the
Communists against the terrible starvation […] I have once
again been dragged into political matters […] I have made the
poster.’ Kollwitz was never a member of the Communist party.
Her inspiration came not from politics but her experiences as
the wife of a doctor among the urban poor.

Inscriptions / Translations:  Inscriptions, sale stamps & c: signed in pencil, l. r.: Kathe Kollwitz; inscr. in pencil, l. l.: Helfn

Notes:  Exhibited: 'Expressionism in Germany', Bolton Museum and Art Gallery, Bolton, UK, 14 August 1999 - 06 October 1999; 'Barber Goes North: Treasures from the Barber Institute', Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, UK, 15 October 2010 - 15 December 2010; 'Age of Expressionism', Slade School of Art, London, UK, 08 February 2011 - 25 March 2011

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