“There are many women artists. But there is hardly any other who [is] so independent and […] who has increased mankind’s sculptural wealth so greatly as Käthe Kollwitz has done.”

Curt Glaser (Berliner Börsen-Courier, 1927)

Käthe Kollwitz – Her artistic work

Käthe Kollwitz’s complete works include thousands of drawings, almost 300 prints and posters, and about 40 sculptural works. She dealt exclusively with the represen­tation of people, depicting their hardship and joy in a distinctive visual language.

In her early work, Käthe Kollwitz was inspired by literary works. She achieved great recognition as early as 1898 with her first graphic cycle — “A Weavers’ Revolt” — inspired by a drama by Gerhart Hauptmann.

Not, Bl. 1 aus dem Zyklus Ein Weberaufstand, 1893-1897, Lithographie

Need, sheet 1 of the series A Weavers’ Revolt, 1893-1897, lithograph

March of the Weavers, sheet 4 of the series A Weavers’ Revolt, 1893-1897, etching

The preoccupation with the motif of mother and child can be traced throughout the artist’s work.

Städtisches Obdach, 1926, Lithographie

Municipal Shelter, 1926, lithograph

Eltern mit Kind, 1931, Lithographie

Parents with Child, 1931, lithograph

Her attention and compassion is always directed at people in difficult social and financial circumstances.

Supplicant, 1909, crayon drawing

Cottage Industry, 1925, lithograph

The theme of death is often found in her work in connection with the mother’s mourning for a dead child.

Woman with Dead Child, 1903, etching

Mother with Dead Child (Pietà), 1937/38, bronze

After her younger son Peter was killed in World War I, she created demonstrative works against war. The mothers she created now showed resolute protection of their children.

Never War Again!, 1924, lithograph

The Mothers, sheet 6 of the series War, 1921/22, woodcut

Death became a recurring motif in her late work. The expectation of death is addressed, as is lamentation over it.

Departure and Death, 1923, lithograph

Kaethe-Kollwitz Museum

Käthe Kollwitz, Lamentation, 1938-1941, bronze

Käthe Kollwitz’s personal condition can be seen in the artist’s numerous self-portraits.

Self-Portrait at a Table, 1903, etching

Small Self-Portrait towards left, 1922, lithograph