Hermann Kätelhön: Das Werk Arbeit

Apr 6 2021 to Sep 18 2021
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Katelhon At the Blind Shaft

For more than two decades—from 1918 to 1940—Herman Kätelhön worked in and around Essen, Germany, making images of coal mining, steel works, and the growing impact of industrialization on the landscape. The striking graphic images—woodcuts, etchings, and lithographs—testify to his virtuosity as a printmaker, as well as his determination to make a portrait of the Ruhr region and the laborers whose skill and toil were essential to the effort. A literal translation of Das Werk Arbeit—Work [about] Work—does not capture the essence of its meaning, which comprises the notion of both industry and labor. There are moving are portraits and claustrophobic scenes of  miners underground as well as accurate depictions of ground level structures in the Ruhr, the center of Germany’s industrial might in both world wars. The portfolio was donated to UK by Robert Estill, who served as chairman of UK/US Coal Control Group, that oversaw coal mining in the Ruhr region after World War II. 

Top Image: Hermann Kätelhön, Die Zeche (The Coal Mine) (detail), undated, etching on paper. Collection of the UK Art Museum, gift of Robert R. Estill. 
Image: Hermann Kätelhön, Am Gesenk (At the Blind Shaft), undated, etching on paper. Collection of the UK Art Museum, gift of Robert R. Estill. 
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