Käthe Kollwitz figures among the most important of German Expressionist artists of the early twentieth century. A sculptor and printmaker, she stands outside the organized movements of Brücke and Der Blaue Reiter in her more realist leanings. Still, she held in common with many artists of the German avant-garde a deep concern for the social issues of the day, especially, in her case, the industrial poor and victims of the crushing economic conditions in Germany after World War I that led to the Nazi takeover in the early 1930s. One of her most moving themes was the distraught mother cradling a sick or dying child, often under the shadow of a menacing death figure. There are few figures in the modern tradition who speak so eloquently to human tragedy as Kollwitz. She is best known for her powerful black-and-white etchings and lithographs that place her among the most important printmakers of her age.
More Works by Käthe Kollwitz in the MMoCA Collection
Prelinger, Elizabeth. Käthe Kollwitz. Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1992.
Kollwitz, Hans (ed.). The Diary and Letters of Käthe Kollwitz. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1988.
Käthe Kollwitz, Death and the Woman (Tod und Frau), 1910, lithograph, 17 3/8 x 17 1/8 inches. Collection of Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Bequest of Rudolph and Louise Langer. 68.1.754 © 2005 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn.
Käthe Kollwitz. © Lotte Jacobi Collection, University of New Hampshire.