“If one were to name the quality that distinguishes Käthe Kollwitz as an artist above all others, it is her character. Rarely has an artist, from the very beginning, charted her own path so surely and adhered to it so purposefully over decades as this woman has. She is a remarkable creator driven by her calling to struggle for social justice and a better world for society’s lower classes.”

Curt Glaser (Berliner Börsen-Courier, 1927)


Käthe Kollwitz was born on July, 8 in Königsberg, East Prussia.

1886 - 1890

Art classes at the Academy for Women Artists in Berlin and Munich under Karl Stauffer-Bern and Ludwig Herterich.


First own studio in Königsberg. Start of graphic work.


Marriage to the doctor Karl Kollwitz. Move to Berlin. The young couple moved into an apartment on Weißenburger Straße in Prenzlauer Berg (today Kollwitz-Straße), which also served as a doctor’s practice and as a place of work for Käthe Kollwitz.


Birth of son Hans.


The premiere of the naturalistic drama “The Weavers” by Gerhart Hauptmann inspired her to create her first graphic series “A Weavers’ Revolt” (1893-1897).


Birth of son Peter.


The cycle “A Weavers’ Revolt” was presented for the first time at the Great Berlin Art Exhibition.

1898 - 1903

Teaching assignment at the Berlin Academy for Women Artists, Kollwitz offered classes in etching and drawing.


Became member of the Berlin Secession. First short trip to Paris.

1902 - 1908

Started work on her etching cycle „Peasants’ War“ on behalf of Verbindung für historische Kunst (Association for Historical Art).


Two months in Paris. Visited the class for sculpting at the Académie Julian.


Was awarded the Villa Romana Prize and several months in Florence.


Completion of the first sculptural work, a portrait relief of her grandfather Julius Rupp, which is publicly displayed in Königsberg. By 1910 Kollwitz had created 14 drawings for the Munich satirical magazine Simplicissimus.


Käthe Kollwitz was elected board member of the Berlin Secession. Renting of the first work space outside of the private apartment in the Siegmundshof studio house.


In October, during the First World War, the younger son Peter was killed as a volunteer in Belgium near Dixmuiden.


On the occasion of her 50th birthday Kollwitz exhibited at the Paul Cassirer gallery.


Became the first woman to be made a full member of the Prussian Academy of Arts. At the same time, she was appointed professor.

1920 - 1925

Increasing orders from political and social institutions, resulting in posters and individual graphics.

1920 - 1922

First work with the woodcut, the series “War” was completed using this technique.


Extensive exhibition in the Prussian Academy on the occasion of her 60th birthday. Trip to the Soviet Union with her husband Karl.



Directorship of the masterclass for graphic art at the Prussian Academy of Art.


As the first woman she was awarded the order Pour le Mérite for Science and Art.


Inauguration of the “Mourning Parents” memorial at the Roggevelde military cemetery in Belgium, in memory of their son Peter.


Was forced to resign from the Prussian Academy by the National Socialists. Abandonment of the master’s studio for reasons of age.


Renting of new studio rooms in the studio community at Klosterstrasse. Started the last graphic cycle “Death”, of which individual sheets were presented in the autumn exhibition of the Academy.



Exhibitions of their works are increasingly prohibited. Removal of her works from public collections. Mainly occupation with small sculptures.


Death of Karl Kollwitz.


Evacuation from the city due to increasing air strikes on Berlin. She initially found accommodation in Nordhausen (Thuringia), and from 1944 in Moritzburg near Dresden. In November 1943 the house on Weißenburger Strasse was destroyed by bombs.


On April 22nd, Käthe Kollwitz died at the age of 77 in Moritzburg.