About this work
Heather Hess, German Expressionist Digital Archive Project, German Expressionism: Works from the Collection. 2011.
In August 1914, Paul Cassirer Verlag began publishing Kriegszeit, a weekly, four-page broadsheet of artistic responses to World War I. Most of the featured artists were represented by Cassirer and were also affiliated with the Berlin Secession, the progressive exhibiting society that had frequently clashed with imperial art policies. Nevertheless, even these Kriegszeit contributors greeted the war with enthusiasm, and had confidence in the military under Wilhelm II and faith in the righteousness of the German cause. Max Liebermann captured the feelings of unity on his cover for the first issue, depicting a mass surging in support of the Emperor's declaration of war. Ultimately, fifty-one artists contributed 265 lithographs, including portraits of military leaders, scenes of military victories, sanitized images of daily life as a soldier, and caricatures of the enemy. All proceeds benefited an organization supporting destitute artists.
Käthe Kollwitz's print Das Bangen (Fear), published in October 1914, and showing an anxious-looking woman, sounded one of the few somber notes; shortly thereafter, Kollwitz learned that her younger son, Peter, had been killed in combat. In November, Beckmann memorialized his brother-in-law, who had fallen on the Eastern Front. Ernst Barlach published eleven, ambiguous prints of the destructive power of war.
In the final issue—March 1916—Kriegszeit reflected the growing war-weariness in prints titled Es langt nicht mehr (It is no longer enough), Verwundeteten-Transport (Transport of the wounded), and Trauernde Frau (Mourning woman). One month later, Cassirer replaced Kriegszeit with the comparatively pacifist periodical Der Bildermann.