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Photo of Käthe Kollwitz

Käthe Kollwitz

Born: 1867 (Königsberg (now Kaliningrad, Russia))

Died: 1945 (Moritzburg, Germany)

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.

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