“Käthe Kollwitz is undoubtedly one of the most important women of the last centuries. Her art is one-of-a-kind and bears all the hallmarks of genius. Her language is understood by people of all tongues […].

Except for very few commissions bound to a specific time, Kollwitz’s work is of timeless rank […]. Even the work of Paula Modersohn-Becker, which was so significant for early expressionism, does not come close to Kollwitz’s importance — not even in terms of international appeal.

The wide range of her work encompasses both the great serious themes of life – suffering, hardship and death, hunger and war — as well as the absolutely joyful, light elements of life. […] This polarity within her work is far too little-known […]. It proves that she did not take up and shape that grim theme out of a general penchant for the darker spheres of life. Even her many extremely impressive self-portraits have nothing oppressive or self-tormenting about them; on the contrary, they almost burst the frame with vitality, boldness, and self-confidence. Beyond that, however, they are without exception of great beauty.”

Hans Pels-Leusden, 1967

The collection

The founder of the museum, Hans Pels-Leusden (1908-1993), had already been dealing with the artist Kollwitz for a very long time when, in 1986, the opportunity finally arose to realize the wish for a personal museum for Käthe Kollwitz in her hometown. In addition to the sculptural work that the Kollwitz family made available to the young museum, the collection of Hans Pels-Leusden forms the basis of the museum’s holdings. His collection was that of a passionate and knowledgeable enthusiast — he did not collect systematically or for completeness. He was fascinated by certain themes, such as the self-portraits or the state prints, which made it possible to experience the path from an idea to the completed work. The final works or even a complete portfolio of prints, such as the “Weavers’ Revolt,” on the other hand, were of less interest to him. After the museum was founded, the unique orientation of the founder’s collection meant that important works had to be added to the holdings in order to present Käthe Kollwitz’s work to museum visitors in all its diversity. The museum received support from private collectors, the circle of friends founded in 1987, and institutions that made works available either as permanent loans or donations. We are extremely grateful for each of these contributions

Below is a small glimpse into the museum’s holdings.

Under #blickindiesammlung we regularly present works from our holdings on Facebook.