Kathe Kollwitz

(1867 - 1945)
Kathe Kollwitz Gesenkter Frauenkopf [Woman with Bowed Head] 1905


Kollwitz was born in Königsberg, East Prussia and trained in Berlin and Munich. In 1891 she married a doctor and moved to a poor area of Berlin where she experienced poverty at first hand. Kollwitz's social and political views were integral to her art, which consists almost entirely of prints (especially print portfolios), drawings and sculptures. In the 1920s she created humanitarian leaflets and posters and anti-war images. Kollwitz was almost entirely interested in portraying the human figure and always depicted working-class subjects in a dignified manner. In 1919 she became the first female member of the Berlin Academy, but was forced to resign in 1933 when Hitler came to power.

Glossary terms

  • A German art movement of the 1920s and early 1930s. It was partly a response to the experience of the First World War, with images containing elements of satire and social commentary. Stylistically it was sober and restrained, moving away from Expressionism to depictions based on close observation. Major figures associated with this style are George Grosz and Otto Dix.