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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Kathe Kollwitz

b. 1867, Kaliningrad, Russia; d. 1945, Dresden, Germany

German Expressionist sculptor and graphic artist Käthe Kollwitz dealt with themes of social injustice in her work. Depicting poverty-stricken mothers and children, war, and death, Kollwitz’s art is a testament to the suffering of Berlin’s disenfranchised populations during the Weimar period and the rise of fascism. Her first significant work, a portfolio of etchings and lithographs entitled A Weavers’ Revolt (1893–97), established her reputation. These prints, as well as others that reference the conditions of the working class and the poor, reveal her debt to the work of Dürer, Rembrandt, and Daumier. She was the first woman to be elected to the Prussian Academy of Art, in 1919, and from 1928 directed the graphic arts program there. She was expelled in 1933, when the Nazis came to power, for the radical politics so vividly expressed in her art. She died a few weeks before the end of World War II, her studio bombed and much of her work destroyed.