This essay explores Käthe Kollwitz’s antiwar graphic work in the context of the German, and later, international No More War movement from 1920 to 1925, where it played an important role in antimilitarist campaigns, exhibitions, and publications, both in Germany and internationally. Looking at Kollwitz’s production closely, we discover a deeply pragmatic artistic strategy, where the emotionality of Kollwitz’s famed prints was the result of tireless technical, formal, and compositional investigation, contrived to maximize emotional impact. By choosing the easily disseminated medium of printmaking as her main vehicle and using a deliberately spare but powerful graphic language in carefully chosen motifs, Kollwitz intended her art to reach as broad an audience as possible in engaging antiwar sentiment. In connection with the leading antiwar voices of the time, including French Nobel Prize-winning writer Romain Rolland and the founder of War Resisters’ International, Helene Stöcker, she deployed her work to reach beyond the confines of the art gallery, into internationally distributed posters, periodicals, and books.
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