Woman with Orange, 1901

Brush lithograph with colouring stone in orange, etching (aquatint, reservage and drypoint) slightly edited with charcoal, cream-coloured paper laid on grey, blotter-like paper, Kn 56 II 2

Käthe Kollwitz, Woman with Orange, 1901, brush lithograph with colouring stone in orange, etching (aquatint, reservage and drypoint) slightly edited with charcoal, cream-coloured paper laid on grey, blotter-like paper, Kn 56 II 2, Cologne Kollwitz Collection © Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln

Her coloured combination print »Woman with an Orange« expresses her exploration of the art of the Nabis more convincingly than any other work. The closeness of this work to Pierre Bonnard’s 1892 oil painting »The Chequered Blouse« is striking. Both works share many characteristics – the narrow format, the strikingly flat depiction with its lack of sculptural modelling, the view from a slightly elevated angle, the table cut at the bottom of the image, and the two-dimensional background, which, in Bonnard’s work, shows some degree of differentiation.

The »Woman with an Orange« was first shown at the fourth exhibition of the Berlin Secession in 1901. The work subsequently triggered a controversy over combination prints in Die Kunst für Alle – one of the most popular art magazines around 1900. This dispute was not only about the pros and cons of combining different kinds of graphic techniques, it even stated in one article that Kollwitz was the »inventor« of a combination of lithograph and etching.

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