“There are a lot of women artists. But there is hardly anyone else who [is] so independent and […] who has increased mankind’s possession of forms to such an extent as Käthe Kollwitz did. “

Curt Glaser (Berliner Börsen-Courier, 1927)

Käthe Kollwitz – Her artistic work

Käthe Kollwitz’s oeuvre consists of thousands of drawings, almost 300 prints and posters as well as around 40 sculptural works. She dealt exclusively with the representation of people, depicting their distress and joy in an unmistakable visual language.

In her early work, Käthe Kollwitz was inspired by literature and achieved great recognition 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 mother and child can be traced across the artist’s entire work.

Städtisches Obdach, 1926, Lithographie

Municipal Shelter, 1926, lithograph

Eltern mit Kind, 1931, Lithographie

Parents with Child, 1931, lithograph

Her attention and her sympathy always went to 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 the First World War, she created committed works against the war. The attitude of the mothers now shows an energetic protection of the 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 discussed as well as the lament over it.

Departure and Death, 1923, lithograph

Kaethe-Kollwitz Museum

Käthe Kollwitz, Lamentation, 1938-1941, bronze

The personal condition of Käthe Kollwitz can be read from the artist’s numerous self-portraits.

Self-Portrait at a Table, 1903, etching

Small Self-Portrait towards left, 1922, lithograph