barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham


KÄTHE KOLLWITZ (1867-1945)

The Young Couple (Junges Paar)

Berlin, 1904

Etching and Aquatint

290 x 310 mm plate size

This image is a reworking of a composition that was first etched in 1893, inspired by Max Halbe’s play ‘Jugend’ (Youth) which had its premier at the Residenztheater in Berlin on 23 April of the same year. It was to be the most sucessful contemporary stage play in Germany after Hauptmann’s ‘Die Weber’. Kollwitz used herself and her husband as models for the star-crossed lovers, Hans and Annchen, two young people in East Prussia, the girl from a Polish, Catholic family and the boy from a German, Protestant one. They were thwarted by religious and social prejudice and sexual jealousy, with tragic consequences for the pair.

The 1904 print is a richer print in every way than its predecessor. Kollwitz had profited from seeing the work of the Nabis artists Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard, creating textured, patterned surfaces she would have known from their domestic interiors.

Printed by Otto Felsing, Berlin; published by Emil Richter.

Proof, with margins, signed by the artist.

Purchased 2018 (Inv. No. 2018.1)

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