Kollwitz, Käthe

Kollwitz, Käthe

biographical name


Self-Portrait with Hand on Forehead, etching by Käthe Kollwitz, …—National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Rosenwald Collection (B-7792)

(born July 8, 1867, Königsberg, East Prussia—died April 22, 1945, near Dresden, Ger.) German graphic artist and sculptor. She studied painting in Berlin and Munich but devoted herself primarily to etchings, drawings, lithographs, and woodcuts. She gained firsthand knowledge of the miserable conditions of the urban poor when her physician husband opened a clinic in Berlin. She became the last great practitioner of German Expressionism and an outstanding artist of social protest. Two early series of prints, Weavers' Revolt (1895–98) and Peasants' War (1902–08), portray the plight of the oppressed with the powerfully simplified, boldly accentuated forms that became her trademark. After her son died in World War I, she created a cycle of prints dedicated to the theme of a mother's love. She was the first woman elected to the Prussian Academy of Arts, where she was head of the Master Studio for Graphic Arts (1928–33). The Nazis banned her works from exhibition. The bombing of her home and studio in World War II destroyed much of her work.


Kollwitz, Käthe orig. Käthe Schmidt

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