February 11, 2021

Louis Marchesano Wins 2021 Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award for Käthe Kollwitz: Prints, Process, Politics

Louis Marchesano wins 2021 Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award

for Käthe Kollwitz: Prints, Process, Politics


LOS ANGELES, CA–Curator Louis Marchesano has won the College Art Association’s (CAA) prestigious Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award for Käthe Kollwitz: Prints, Process, Politics, published by the Getty Research Institute (GRI). The Barr Award is given annually “to the author or authors of an especially distinguished catalogue in the history of art, published in the English language under the auspices of a museum, library, or collection.” This year two catalogues were recognized: Marchesano’s Käthe Kollwitz and Katherine A. Bussard and Kristen Gresh’s “Life” Magazine and the Power of Photography, published by the Princeton University Art Museum.  

German printmaker Käthe Kollwitz (1867–1945) is known for her unapologetic social and political imagery; her representations of grief, suffering, and struggle; and her equivocal ideas about artistic and political labels. Käthe Kollwitz: Prints, Process, Politics explores Kollwitz’s printmaking experiments and the evolution of her images, and assesses the unusually rich progressions of preparatory drawings, proofs, and rejected images behind Kollwitz’s compositions of struggling workers, rebellious peasants, and grieving mothers.

This selected catalogue of the Dr. Richard A. Simms collection at the GRI provides a bird’s-eye view of Kollwitz’s sequences of images as well as the interrelationships among prints produced over multiple years. The meanings and sentiments emerging from Kollwitz’s images are not, as is often implied, unmediated expressions of her politics and emotions. Rather, Kollwitz transformed images with deliberate technical and formal experiments, seemingly endless adjustments, wholesale rejections, and strategic regroupings of figures and forms—all of which demonstrate that her dedication to making art was never a straightforward means to political or emotional ends. This volume was published to accompany the exhibition Käthe Kollwitz: Prints, Process, Politics, which was on view at the Getty Research Institute at the Getty Center from December 3, 2019, to mid-March 2020. The exhibition was due to travel to the Art Institute of Chicago but was cancelled due to COVID-19 closures.

Author Louis Marchesano, former curator of prints and drawings at the GRI, now the Audrey and William H. Helfand Senior Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, notes, “The kinds of questions my collaborators and I addressed grew directly out of the extraordinary collection of Dr. Richard A. Simms, with whom I spent countless hours discussing Kollwitz’s work. The book, which I worked on with Jay A. Clarke and Natascha Kirchner, is in a way an extension of those conversations, and the receipt of the Barr Award is a tribute to Richard himself.” Mary E. Miller, director of the GRI, adds, “This remarkable study shines light on the unique Simms collection, which the Getty Research Institute is privileged to steward and to share.”

Gail Feigenbaum, associate director of the GRI and head of the GRI’s publishing program, states, “From the outset, Louis Marchesano wanted a publication that let readers see into Kollwitz’s thinking process as she tried, changed, erased, discarded, and reworked her ideas. Unlike the excellent surveys of Kollwitz’s work, this book focuses on a small group of projects, exploring the sequences of preparatory prints and drawings to show how the artist sought to achieve a perfect intensity of expression.”


Media Contact:

Maureen Winter

Getty Publications



About the Getty Research Institute

The Getty Research Institute is an operating program of the J. Paul Getty Trust. It serves education in the broadest sense by increasing knowledge and understanding about art and its history through advanced research. The Research Institute provides intellectual leadership through its research, exhibition, and publication programs and provides service to a wide range of scholars worldwide through residencies, fellowships, online resources, and a Research Library. The Research Library—housed in the 201,000-square-foot Research Institute building designed by Richard Meier—is one of the largest art and architecture libraries in the world. The general library collections (secondary sources) include almost 900,000 volumes of books, periodicals, and auction catalogues encompassing the history of Western art and related fields in the humanities. The Research Library’s special collections include rare books, artists’ journals, sketchbooks, architectural drawings and models, photographs, and archival materials.


About Getty Publications

Getty Publications produces award-winning titles that result from or complement the work of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Conservation Institute, and Getty Research Institute. This wide variety of books covers the fields of art, photography, archaeology, architecture, conservation, and the humanities for both the general public and specialists. Publications include illustrated works on artists and art history, exhibition catalogues, works on cultural history, research on the conservation of materials and archaeological sites, scholarly monographs, critical editions of translated works, comprehensive studies of Getty’s collections, and educational books on art to interest children of all ages.



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