Self-portrait, 1889

Pen and black ink and brush and sepia on drawing cardboard, NT 12

Käthe Kollwitz, Self-portrait, 1889, pen and black ink and brush and sepia on drawing cardboard, NT 12, Cologne Kollwitz Collection © Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln

The posture and facial expression in this drawing reveal the growing confidence of the young artist Käthe Schmidt. This portrait – like all her early works – is in the tradition of the pictorial style, signed with her maiden name »Schmidt« in an early lettering style and dated »’89«. It was thus created during her two-year studies at the Munich Academy for Women Artists under Ludwig Herterich.

She presented herself in a self-confident and ostentatious close-up view, standing in front of her easel, one hand at her lapel. This is a pose she adopted from the self-portraits of her male fellow artists.


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