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Exhibition of prints by Käthe Kollwitz

  • Name (text):

    Exhibition of prints by Käthe Kollwitz

    Word Count: 7

  • Name:
    Exhibition of prints by Käthe Kollwitz
  • Kind of Event:
    Exhibition
  • Start Date:
    06-1931
  • Introduction:

    A German woodcut exhibition organised at the Zeitgeist Bookstore presumably took place in June 1931. In June 1932. A further exhibition with more than 200 works by German artists, including works by Käthe Kollwitz and George Grosz, was shown at the Chinese Y.M.C.A.

    Word Count: 44

  • Content:

    The young German bookseller Irene Weitemeyer opened the Zeitgeist Bookstore (a branch of the Zeitgeist Bookstore, Berlin) in Shanghai in November 1930. The small store at 130 North Soochow Road (now North Suzhou Road) opposite the General Post Office still features in stories about secret service activities, in its role as a meeting place for Comintern members and agents in the Red Army secret service network in Moscow – such as Richard Sorge, or the Chinese ‘Reds‘. What is mere legend and what really happened there cannot be reconstructed beyond doubt.

    Lu Xun’s circle of friends included the American writer Agnes Smedley, whom Käthe Kollwitz knew from her time in Germany (1919–1928), Ursula Hamburger (née Kuczynski, a.k.a. Ruth Werner), Rudolf Hamburger’s wife, and Irene Weitemeyer. A German woodcut exhibition organised at the Zeitgeist Bookstore presumably took place in June 1931. Ursula Hamburger helped bring the prints for Käthe Kollwitz’s exhibition from Berlin to Shanghai.

    In June 1932 a further exhibition with more than 200 works by German artists, including works by Käthe Kollwitz and George Grosz, was shown at the Chinese Y.M.C.A. in Szechuan Road in the French Concession. According to a report in The China Press (June 25, 1932), the ‘proletarian‘ character of the works on display was a great inspiration for young Chinese artists.

    At the end of 1932, the Berlin artist couple Julius Wentscher and Tina Haim Wentscher arrived from Bali via Beijing in Shanghai, where they also frequented the group around Rudolf and Ursula Hamburger. In December, they exhibited their work at the American Women’s Club. He showed watercolours while she showed sculptures made out of different materials, with those made from beeswax especially attracting a lot of attention. Käthe Kollwitz warned the Wentschers not to return to Germany because of their Jewish origins. They stayed in Asia for several years before travelling to Australia as Enemy Aliens from Malaysia in the early 1940s. They never returned to Germany and continued to live in Melbourne (and changed their name to Wentcher).

    The impact of these exhibitions on the young generation of Chinese artists was immense. The themes of social inequality, the resistance against the national Chinese government and later against the Japanese occupiers were taken up in woodcuts and disseminated. The Chinese artist and writer Lu Xun was deeply involved in the art and artistic technique of woodcut. He saw it as a means by which pictures could be produced and reproduced quickly and easily. In a largely illiterate rural-based society, radio and image-based communication were important tools. The sheets by Käthe Kollwitz that Lu Xun bought at the time are still in Chinese archives, and artistic works from the 1930s clearly show the impact of Kollwitz’s and Grosz’s work.

    Word Count: 461

  • Signature Image:
    Advertisement for the Zeitgeist Bookstore.
  • Media:
    Agnes Smedley in her apartment with a lamp designed by Rudolf Hamburger, photography, 1931 (© Hamburger family).
    Käthe Kollwitz, The Ploughmen, sheet 1 of the cycle “Peasants War”, 1907, line etching, drypoint, aquatint, reservage, sandpaper, needle bundle and soft ground with imprint of Ziegler's transfer paper, Kn 99 VIII b. (© Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln).
    Smedley, Agnes. “Chinese Woodcuts 1935–49.”, The Massachusetts Review, vol. 25, no. 4, 1984, p. 553. Reprint of Li Hua, Ploughing, Angry Tide series, 1947. 5_ Ye Qianyu, cover print, The Second-class Rail Carriage, Modern Sketch, July 1935. The print was inspired by George Grosz.
    Wang Guodong, cover print, Pornographic behaviour under the blue sky and red sun, Modern Sketch, February 1936. The print was inspired by George Grosz’ sketch The Kiss.
    Ye Qianyu, cover print, The Second-class Rail Carriage, Modern Sketch, July 1935.
  • Bibliography (selected):

    Smedley, Agnes. "Chinese Woodcuts 1935–49." The Massachusetts Review, 1984, vol. 25, no. 4, 1884, pp. 553–564.
    Smedley, Agnes. "The Chinese Woodcut: Eleven Prints of Life and Manners in Present Day China." Tribune Gallery, New York, 1949.
    Danzker, Jo-Anne Birnie, et al. Shengtian (editors).Shanghai Modern 1919– 1945, Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2004.
    Lu, Hsun [Lu Xun]. "Written in Deep Night." Voice of China, vol. 1, no. 6, 1 June 1936, p. 6.
    Werner, Ruth. Sonjas Rapport, Verlag Neues Leben, 2006.
    Bevan, Paul. 'Intoxicating Shanghai’ – An Urban Montage. Art and Literature in Pictorial Magazines during Shanghai’s Jazz Age. Brill, 2020.

    Word Count: 82

  • Author:
    Eduard Kögel
  • Participants (selection):

    Käthe Kollwitz (artist on display), Irene Weitemeyer, Ursula Hamburger (ne Kuczynski, a.k.a. Ruth Werner), Agnes Smedley, Lu Xun, Julius Wentscher, Tina Haim Wentscher

    Word Count: 26

  • Known addresses in Metromod cities:

    Zeitgeist Bookstore, 130 North Suzhou Road (now Bei Suzhou Lu, Hongkou Qu); Chinese Y.M.C.A., Boulevard de Montigny, French Concession (now 123 Xizang Nan Lu, Huangpu Qu), American Women’s Club, 113 Bubbling Well Road, International Settlement (now Nanjing Xi Lu, Jing’an Qu) Shanghai

  • Metropolis:
    Shanghai
  • Entry in process:
    no
  • Eduard Kögel. "Exhibition of prints by Käthe Kollwitz." METROMOD Archive, 2021, https://archive.metromod.net/viewer.p/69/2952/object/5141-11304831, last modified: 14-09-2021.
  • David Ludwig Bloch
    Artist

    David Ludwig Bloch is known for his paintings and watercolours revolving around the Holocaust and his exile. With the woodcuts from his time in exile in Shanghai, Bloch created an artistic account of everyday life in the city, while harvesting the simplicity of form and colour of the medium.

    Word Count: 49

    David Ludwig Bloch, Rickshaw, book of woodcuts, cover, ink on paper, 20 cm x 14 cm, 1945, Taiping Yinshua Gongsi, Shanghai, David Ludwig Bloch Collection (© Leo Baeck Institute, New York).
    David Ludwig Bloch, Invitation to Bloch's exhibition of watercolors, linotype, 16.5 x 25 cm, 1941, Shanghai, David Ludwig Bloch Collection (© Leo Baeck Institute, New York).David Ludwig Bloch, Shanghai Soldier, woodcut, ink on paper, 53.3 cm x 76.2 cm, 1942, Shanghai, David Ludwig Bloch Collection (© Leo Baeck Institute, New York).David Ludwig Bloch, Chinese Street Scene–Shanghai, hand colored woodcut, matted with Chinese silk, Shanghai 1945 (© United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of David L. Bloch).David Ludwig Bloch, Shanghai Street, woodcut, hand tinted, matted with Chinese silk, framed in gilded bamboo, 105 x 27 cm, 1945, Shanghai, David Ludwig Bloch Collection (© Leo Baeck Institute, New York). This print was signed for Hans Jacoby.David Ludwig Bloch, Shanghai, Street Scene, watercolor on paper, 39 x 57 cm, 1949, Shanghai, David Ludwig Bloch Collection (© Leo Baeck Institute, New York).David Ludwig Bloch, Yin and Yang, book of 48 woodcuts, street scene, ink on paper, 21,1 x 18,4 cm, 1948, Shanghai, David Ludwig Bloch Collection (© Leo Baeck Institute, New York).David Ludwig Bloch, Yin and Yang, book of 48 woodcuts, Wing Hon Coffin Co., ink on paper, 21,1 x 18,4 cm, 1948, Shanghai, David Ludwig Bloch Collection (© Leo Baeck Institute, New York).David Ludwig Bloch, Yin and Yang, book of 48 woodcuts, Race Course, ink on paper, 21,1 x 18,4 cm, 1948, Shanghai, David Ludwig Bloch Collection (© Leo Baeck Institute, New York). While many of Block's prints show details and small sections of street life, this is one of those that capture a wide urban space from an elevated perspective. This print is reminiscent of those by Emma Bormann.Sax-Darnous. "Houang Pao Tch'ô." Revue National Chinoise, vol. 22, no. 156, 1946, pp. 56–57. This article was published on the occasion of Bloch's book Rickshaw.Future, vol. 1, no. 12, January 1948, series 5, printed materials, 1939–1988, Future, 1948, John and Harrier Isaack papers (© United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of John and Harriet Isaack). Published by the Shanghai Jewish Youth Community Center. Cover lettering print by John Isaack, cover print by David Ludwig Bloch. Last issue “our magazine has served as a binding link between those of our members who have gone abroad and those who will remain in Shanghai.”
    Shanghai
    Richard Paulick
    ArchitectDesigner

    After studying with Hans Poelzig, Richard Paulick worked in Walter Gropius’s office and frequented the Bauhaus in Dessau before emigrating to Shanghai in 1933. After his return, he became an influential planner and architect in the GDR, from 1950 until his retirement

    Word Count: 41

    Richard Paulick on board ship, en route to exile, photography, 1933. (© private archive, courtesy of Natascha Paulick).Richard Paulick on a weekend boat trip around Shanghai, photography (© private archive, courtesy of Natascha Paulick).Richard Paulick sketches in the landscape, photography (© private archive, courtesy of Natascha Paulick).Richard Paulick (with a pipe) in his office. His brother Rudolf is standing in front of the plan cupboard, photography (© private archive, courtesy of Natascha Paulick).Ye Qianyu, cover print, The Second-class Rail Carriage, Modern Sketch, July 1935.
    Shanghai
    Agnes Smedley
    WriterJournalist

    Agnes Smedley was an American journalist, writer and activist. Between 1929 and 1941, she lived in China, where she wrote reportages for European and American newspapers. As a feminist and socialist writer, she focused on the concerns of rural people and paid special attention to artists and their work during the Chinese revolution.

    Word Count: 51

    Smedley, Agnes. “Chinese Woodcuts 1935–49.” The Massachusetts Review, vol. 25, no. 4, 1984, pp. 553-564.
    Aino Taylor, Agnes Smedley in Kuomintang uniform as worn by Communist troops in central China during the United Front in 1939, Agnes Smedley Collection (© University Archives, Arizona State University Library).Smedley, Agnes. China blutet. Cover, Dietz Verlag Berlin, 1949. The German exiled artist John Heartfield (née Helmut Herzfeld) did a letterpress print for Cina blutet for his brother’s publishing house Malik Verlag during their exile in Prague in 1936. The print is archived at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and belongs to the Jan Tschichold Collection. Jan Tschichold was a calligrapher, typographer, and book designer. In 1933 he fled with his family to Switzerland and stayed for longer periods in London and Hampstead where he was involved in the design of the Penguin Books.
    Shanghai