Kathe Kollwitz

Alternative Name(s): -
Date of Birth: July 8, 1867
Place of Birth: Konigsberg, Germany
Date of Death: April 22, 1945
Focus: Painter, Sculptor, Printmaker
Art movement: Expressionist
Nationality: German

Famous Kathe Kollwitz Artwork

Kathe Kollwitz Biography

Kathe Kollwitz, a German expressionist, was known primarily as a printmaker whose vivid black and white prints captured the horror of war. Her drawings, woodcuts, lithographs and etchings were expressionistic renderings of the human side of not only war but also poverty and hunger. These themes were also carried into paintings and sculptures.

After losing her youngest son, Peter, to World War I, Kathe Kollwitz battled depression, and her work became an expression of her own personal grief rather than merely a social comment on war. Her sculpture, “The Grieving Parents,” was placed in a Belgian cemetery in 1932, near Peter’s grave.

In addition to working as an artist, Kollwitz was also a political activist, whose commitment to liberalism and pacifism eventually grew into communism. During World War II, Kollwitz was forced by the Nazis to resign from her position as a college art instructor, banned from showing her work and threatened with deportation to a concentration camp. This deportation did not occur, and she actually outlived her husband and her grandson, also named Peter, who died in World War II. In 1943, she left Berlin and died just before the war ended.

Kollwitz’s work continues to be exhibited, and she has two museums that are dedicated to exhibiting her work. These museums are located in Berlin and Cologne. Kathe Kollwitz was an important artist of the 20th century, and her work continues to resonate as an expression of love, life, war and grief.