Workers coming from the Station (Prenzlauer Allee Station), 1897-1899

Brush and watercolour, heightened with white, on Ingres paper, NT 146

Käthe Kollwitz, Workers coming from the Station (Prenzlauer Allee Station), 1897-1899, brush and watercolour, heightened with white, on Ingres paper, NT 146, Cologne Kollwitz Collection © Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln

»Workers coming from the Station« is among the few colour drawings from the 1890s that are still extant. In these works, Käthe Kollwitz still depicted the everyday life of the working class largely without any social criticism.

Some of these works were probably among a large number of Kollwitz works that were shown at the Berlin Exhibition of Women Artists in 1894. A description of Käthe Kollwitz’ works in a review of this exhibition in the Kunst für Alle journal matches this sheet with the returning workers: »If I am not mistaken, she was active in Munich for an extended period and studied under Ludwig Herterich. Now, however, she has other models – Liebermann and Raffaëlli. She seeks out life and nature on the edge of town, guided only by artistic considerations, without being tendentious.« (from: Die Kunst für Alle: painting, sculpture, graphic art, architecture, Vol 9, 1893-94)

It is even conceivable that this work was not created in 1897, as has been assumed, but may have been made as early as the beginning of the 1890s before Käthe Kollwitz created the »Weavers« cycle of 1893-1897. Thematically, the drawing, which shows numerous workers who have just arrived at the Prenzlauer Allee Station and are now rushing home, is reminiscent of works by contemporaries such as Hans Baluschek and Franz Skarbina.

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