Female Nude, c 1904

Charcoal, NT 318

Käthe Kollwitz, Female Nude, c 1904-1906, charcoal, NT 318, Cologne Kollwitz Collection © Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln

The artist held the works of Auguste Rodin in great esteem, which manifests itself in this drawing of a crouching female nude. Inspired by Rodin’s 1881 sculpture »Crouching Woman«, Kollwitz gave the figure a hermetic outline, with the right arm forming almost a right angle to the long line of the shoulder part.

The anatomy of the bony model is closely observed. Yet as a result of the compressed posture with the closely tucked up legs and clasping arms, and the head, which is strongly inclined to the right, the artist created a compact, almost cubic shape that has abstract qualities.

This nude with its beautifully flowing lines is in the tradition of contemporary sculptural drawings with their focus on both three-dimensionality and outline. Research shows that this work can be dated around 1904, which was the year when the artist spent several weeks at the Académie Julian to familiarise herself with the basics of sculpting.

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