Eva & Kathe, Art Extraordinaire

Sunday, August 04, 2019

In my young years as an aspiring artist, I was particularly attracted to a style of drawing–spare and emotional. This style was well-represented by early 20th Century German artists in response to brutal government oppression. One of the most powerful representatives of this art was Kathe Kollwitz. I studied her works with fascination and awe, the artwork of others, too, but Kollwitz remains most-burned in my memory.

Just the other day, a blogger I follow wrote a piece about Eva Frankfurther, a German-born artist who grew up in England. I’d never heard of Frankfurter, but her drawings and lithographs immediately captured my attention. Her art made clear that she understood the terrors of Nazi Germany, and that her expressionism was influenced by the works of Kathe Kollwitz.

Kollwitz lived in Germany during the terrible years. Her art is a compassionate history of the experience of terror for humans of all ages. Frankfurter’s experience was different. She was removed from Germany as an infant just as the Nazi terrors began, but her mind and imagination were impressed by all happening in the homeland of her people. Her entire emphasis through art is on people, those in the streets of London where she lived and in Italy where she studied. She explained their taunt emotions with spare lines and made amazing art.

Unfortunately, she was one of those super-bright, creative and capable artists unable to tolerate the pressures of genius. In the 1950s, she self-imploded, committed suicide in her mid-twenties, leaving hundreds of unpublished and unsold drawings and lithographs–results of her never-ending preoccupation, studies of people on the streets and at their work.

Her art and persona have captured my thoughts and imagination. I intend to learn more about this talented individual who before now was lost to me.

Dear Readers: You will be invited to learn, along with me. Diana

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