Käthe Kollwitz

Date/place of birth

1867 Königsberg

Day/place of death

1945 Moritzburg/Saxony

Käthe Kollwitz - Kindergruppe
Käthe Kollwitz - Kindergruppe

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Käthe Kollwitz biography

From 1881 to 1886, Käthe Kollwitz (born Schmidt) received her first artistic instruction from the painter Gustav Naujok and the engraver Rudolf Mauer in Kaliningrad (then: Königsberg). She subsequently attended Karl Stauffer-Bern’s portraiture class at the Berlin school for female artists. Further studies followed at the Munich school for female artists, with Ludwig Herterich. In 1891 she married the doctor Karl Kollwitz and lived with him in the Prenzlauer Berg area of Berlin. Their son Hans was born in the following year. At that time she primarily created prints and these clearly dealt with negative aspects of life, with the suffering of the poor and oppressed. All of her works possess a strong ethical substance on account of their involvement with these themes. Her second son, Peter, was born in 1896. Kollwitz then enjoyed her first successes as an artist, and she also received a teaching position at the Berlin School for Female Artists. In 1904, during a two-month stay to study in Paris, she attended the Académie Julian to begin acquainting herself with work in sculpture. In 1907 the “Villa-Romana-Preis” enabled her to stay in Florence for several months. Back in Berlin, the artist worked for the satirical magazine “Simplicissimus”. She used the magazine as a vehicle for her commitment to social reform in the context of the emerging workers’ movement or, respectively, to draw attention to the problems of the proletariat. In 1909 she created her first sculptures. However, printmaking continued to be the focus of her work. Kollwitz not only became a board member of the “Berlin Secession” and the “Freie Secession”, but also a cofounder of the Women Artists’ Association, the “Frauenkunstverband”, where she remained a member until 1923. In 1914 her second son, Peter, was killed in the war, and Käthe Kollwitz became a pacifist in response. Paul Cassirer organised a major exhibition for her 50th birthday. In 1919 Käthe Kollwitz became the first female member of the Prussian Academy of Arts, and she was simultaneously also made a professor. Through her posters and prints, the artist repeatedly drew attention to the plight of people unable to provide for their basic needs – particularly those who were among the proletariat. In 1933 the Nazis forced Käthe Kollwitz to resign from the Prussian Academy of Arts, and a ban on exhibitions of her work followed. In 1943 Kollwitz was evacuated to Nordhausen; her apartment in Berlin was destroyed during an air raid.

© Kunsthaus Lempertz

Käthe Kollwitz Prices

Käthe KollwitzKindergruppe€65.000
Käthe KollwitzKindergruppe€55.800
Käthe KollwitzLotte. Rückseitig: Mutter, die ihr Kind nährt€34.510
Käthe KollwitzKindergruppe€19.840
Käthe KollwitzDie Klage€19.200
Käthe KollwitzKleine Kindergruppe (Geschwister)€19.040

Käthe Kollwitz - Current offers and reference objects