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Käthe Kollwitz (German, 1867–1945), The Volunteers (Die Freiwilligen), from War (Krieg), woodcut, 1921–22; published 1923. 18 3/4 x 25 7/8 in. Purchased with funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1983.2c. In the exhibition The Great War: Art on the Front Line (July 25–October 19), Gallery 18
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I (July 28, 1914), the Toledo Museum of Art has organized the exhibition The Great War: Art on the Front Line from its collections. Like most artists featured in the exhibition, Käthe Kollwitz was personally affected by the war. Her 18-year-old son Peter was killed at the Front in 1914. In 1921–22 she produced a series of seven harrowing images of fear and grief and suffering called simply War (Krieg). Here a group of volunteers—including Peter, highlighted at the center—is pulled along relentlessly by the figure of Death beating a drum.
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