8. 7. 1867 - 8. 7. 2017


Käthe Kollwitz


veröffentlicht von der Komintern (SH)

zum 150. Geburtstag am

08. Juli 1867


Käthe Kollwitz’s 150th anniversary

Käthe Kollwitz is undoubtedly one of Germany’s most important artists. Engaging with her art is an enriching experience and helps us to better understand the present day. It is hard to believe that she was born 150 years ago, 8 July 1867.







Abb5 KollwitzKind


1867 born on July 8th in Königsberg, East Prussia
1885 – 1890 studies with Stauffer-Bern (Berlin) and with Herterich (Munich)
1890 first etchings
1891 marries Dr. Karl Kollwitz who settles in a working class area of north Berlin
1892 son Hans is born
1896 son Peter is born
1898 the graphic cycle A Weaver’s Rebellion is shown at the


Große Berliner 8-105Kunstausstellung


1898 – 1903 teaches at the Berlin School of Woman Artists
1902 – 1908 works on the series Peasant War
1904 visits Paris, meets with Rodin and Steinlen 
1907 spends one year in Florence (Villa Romana Prize)
1910 first attempts with sculpture
1914 son Peter falls in Flanders



1917 fiftieth birthday exhibition at Paul Cassirer’s in Berlin
1919 becomes a member of the Prussian Academy of Art
1919 – 1920 works on a commemorating woodcut dedicated to Karl Liebknecht, a revolutionary socialist, assassinated in 1919
1922 – 1925 woodcut series War and Proletariat
In 1927 Kollwitz visited the Soviet Union at the invitation of the Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia (AKhRR).
1928 head of the Master Class for the Graphic Arts at the Academy


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1932 dedication of the memorial The Parents at the military cemetery in Vladsloo, Flanders
1933 Hitler comes to power; after resignation from the Prussian Academy of Art Kollwitz loses her position as head of the Master Class for the Graphic Arts
1934 – 1935 cycle of eight lithographs titled Death
1936 is not allowed to exhibit anymore; her works are removed from museums and galleries
1940 Karl Kollwitz dies
1943 – 1944 evacuated to Nordhausen; moves to Moritzburg near Dresden upon invitation




of Prince Ernst Heinrich of Saxony
1945 dies on April 22nd in Moritzburg shortly before the end of the war




Kollwitz - VIDEO



another Video



With the grandchildren ...


I long for Socialism which allows people to live - the world has seen enough murder, lies, and corruption." (Käthe Kollwitz - 1920)

* * *

I felt that I have no right to withdraw from the responsibility of being an advocate. It is my duty to voice the sufferings of people, the sufferings that never end and are as big as mountains. Diary entry (1 April 1920).

* * *

The artist is usually a child of his times, especially if his formative years fell in the period of early socialism. My formative years coincided with that period, and I was totally caught up in the socialist movement. At that time, the idea of a conscious commitment to serve the proletariat was the farthest thing from my mind. But what use to me were principles of beauty like those of the Greeks, for example, principles that I could not feel as my own and identify with? The simple fact of the matter was that I found the proletariat beautiful.



Bourgeois life on the whole seemed to me pedantic. (1941)


For work, one must be hard and thrust outside of oneself what one has lived through. (1916)


"The motifs I was able to select from this milieu (the workers' lives) offered me, in a simple and forthright way, what I discovered to be beautiful.... People from the bourgeois sphere were altogether without appeal or interest. All middle-class life seemed pedantic to me. On the other hand, I felt the proletariat had guts. It was not until much later...when I got to know the women who would come to my husband for help, and incidentally also to me, that I was powerfully moved by the fate of the proletariat and everything connected with its way of life.... But what I would like to emphasize once more is that compassion and commiseration were at first of very little importance in attracting me to the representation of proletarian life; what mattered was simply that I found it beautiful."




Kollwitz joined Albert Einstein, George Grosz, Maxim Gorki, George Bernard Shaw, Henri Barbusse, Willi Münzenberg, Clara Zetkin, Upton Sinclair and Ernst Toller to form the International Workers Aid (IAH). She produced several posters for the organisation including Help Russia and Vienna is Dying! Save her Children!.


Her most famous art cycles, including The Weavers and The Peasant War, depict the effects of poverty, hunger, and war on the working class.




Memorial Sheet of Karl Liebknecht




Woodcut heightened with white and black ink
14 5/8 × 20 7/16 in
37.1 × 51.9 cm




Against Abortion






Bread from War


13 3/4 × 11 in
34.9 × 27.9 cm





March of the Weavers, 1893-1898

“The Weavers' Revolt (1893-98),” a landmark of class-conscious art, which depicts, in a series of prints, the plight of the worker and his age-long struggle to better his lot.



The End from The Weaver's Revolt


Aquatint and etching with sandpaper
9 3/4 × 12 in
24.8 × 30.5 cm




Workers Going Home




The Peasants' War




Kollwitz's secondmajor cycle of works was the Peasant War, which, subject to many preliminary drawings and discarded ideas in lithography, occupied her from 1902 to 1908. The German Peasants' War was a violent revolution which took place in Southern Germany in the early years of the Reformation, beginning in 1525; peasants who had been treated as slaves took arms against feudal lords and the church. The artist identified with the character of Black Anna, a woman cited as a protagonist in the uprising.


As was The Weavers, this subject, too, might have been suggested by a Hauptmann drama, Florian Geyer. However, the initial source of Kollwitz's interest dated to her youth, when she and her brother Konrad playfully imagined themselves as barricade fighters in a revolution



No more war


"There has been enough of dying! Let not another man fall!"

I have received a commission to make a poster against war. That is a task that makes me happy. Some may say a thousand times that this is not pure art.... but as long as I can work, I want to be effective with my art.





Flyer for the Alcohol-Opponents-Week






The Prisoners







United we stand -

- divided we fall !







In 1933, after the establishment of the National-Socialist regime, the Nazi Party authorities forced her to resign her place on the faculty of the Akademie der Künste following her support of the Dringender Appell. Her work was removed from museums. Although she was banned from exhibiting, one of her "mother and child" pieces was used by the Nazis for propaganda.

In July 1936, she and her husband were visited by the Gestapo, who threatened her with arrest and deportation to a Nazi concentration camp.






self portrait



The working-class woman shows me much more than the ladies who are totally limited by conventional behavior. The working-class woman shows me her hands, her feet, and her hair. She lets me see the shape and form of her body through her clothes. She presents herself and the expression of her feelings openly, without disguises.






Arbeiterfrau mit Ohrring










Beim Dengeln





Obdachlos unter der Brücke




Die Mütter




Plakat von Käthe Kollwitz



















Pflüger mit Frau







Arbeiterin mit Sense








































Tombstone Kaethe Kollwitz.


I want to have an effect on my time, in which human beings are so confused and in need of help.


Käthe Kollwitz