Käthe Kollwitz. Help Russia (Helft Russland). 1921

Käthe Kollwitz Help Russia (Helft Russland) 1921

  • Not on view

In 1921, a famine in the Volga region of Soviet Russia threatened the lives of millions of peasants, and stories of cannibalism and other horrors circulated in the West, prompting Kollwitz to make this lithograph. Gaunt cheeks and sunken eyes give an emaciated man a skeletal appearance, while hands circle around him offering help. Kollwitz gives the tragedy a human face and urges her compatriots to lend their support.

This poster was published as part of the relief efforts of the Internationale Arbeiterhilfe (International Worker's Aid), a Communist-backed organization founded in August 1921 as a response to Vladimir Lenin's call for help from the international proletariat. Some versions came with with the exhortation "Helft Russland" (Help Russia) written near the top. Kollwitz's image circulated widely in Europe and the United States.

Publication excerpt from Heather Hess, German Expressionist Digital Archive Project, German Expressionism: Works from the Collection. 2011.
Medium
Lithograph
Dimensions
composition (irreg.): 15 3/4 x 18 3/4" (40 x 47.6 cm); sheet: 19 11/16 x 25 9/16" (50 x 65 cm)
Publisher
Komitee "Künstlerhilfe" der "Internationalen Arbeiterhilfe," Berlin
Printer
unknown
Edition
300
Credit
The Ralph E. Shikes Fund
Object number
222.1997
Copyright
© 2020 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Department
Drawings and Prints

Installation views

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at digital@moma.org.

Provenance Research Project

This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.

Acquired by Eric H. Boehm, Berlin, c. 1945; sold (through Galerie St. Etienne, New York ) to The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1997

Provenance research is a work in progress, and is frequently updated with new information. If you have any questions or information to provide about the listed works, please email provenance@moma.org or write to:

Provenance Research Project
The Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street
New York, NY 10019

Licensing

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at firenze@scalarchives.com. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA’s Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email text_permissions@moma.org. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to archives@moma.org.

Feedback

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to digital@moma.org.