After 36 successful years, the Käthe Kollwitz Museum Berlin has left its founding location in Charlottenburg’s Fasanenstraße and moved to the theater building at Charlottenburg Palace in summer 2022.
From opening in October 2022, the museum and its collection on the first floor of the building will be presented in a new presentation under the Kollwitz quote “And yet it is art”. The artist (1867 – 1945), who was already known worldwide during her lifetime, had herself once issued the motto: “I want to have an effect in this time”.
Many of her works are still anchored in people’s pictorial memory today as accusations against social grievances and admonitions against war and violence. Despite the declared goal of achieving a broad impact with her graphics, Käthe Kollwitz always saw herself first and foremost as an artist.
As an accomplished draftswoman, with a delight in experimentation and a great talent for finding images, her main concern was to create an artistically sophisticated work. Slow working, numerous attempts to find motifs and the constant change of printing techniques characterize Kollwitz’s path to the completed work. She self-critically questioned her work and compared it with contemporary works by colleagues, only to conclude in her diary in December 1922 about her works: “And yet it is art.”
From this perspective, the new permanent exhibition of the Berlin Kollwitz Museum examines, first with its own holdings and later in rotation with loans from friendly collections and private lenders, the artistic quality of the works of a graphic artist and sculptor who was far too often reduced to her political and social impact.
With almost 100 works by Käthe Kollwitz on display, the museum presents a third more works in the Theaterbau than in Fasanenstraße. An exhibition area of 235 square meters at the old location now has 300 square meters available for the museum’s holdings.
The museum’s permanent exhibition will become even more extensive from 2024, when the exhibition activities will move to the entire 1st floor of the building and the exhibition space will double. The currently limited possibilities for special shows will then reach a standard that will meet the prevailing museum requirements, not only spatially but also climatically.