Käthe Kollwitz (née Schmidt, 1867–1945) one of the leading artists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, notable for the emotional power of her drawing, printmaking and then sculpture.
Kollwitz was born in Königsberg in East Prussia, which formed part of Germany from 1871-1945. After studying in Berlin and Munich she moved permanently to Berlin in 1891 when she married Karl Kollwitz, a doctor for the Tailors’ Medical Insurance Union.
Kollwitz lived an intensely examined life, expressed in her numerous self-portraits (featured in the exhibition), diaries and correspondence; at the core of this existence was her work as an artist: ‘It alone is always stimulating, rejuvenating, exciting and satisfying.’ (New Year’s Day, 1912).
Her mastery of graphic art quickly established her reputation in Germany, then further afield as her influence spread to Russia and China after the First World War.