* 8th July 1867 in Königsberg (Kaliningrad), today Russia
† 22nd April 1945 in Moritzburg, today Germany
Käthe Kollwitz (born Schmidt) was a German graphic artist, painter, and sculptor. She is considered one of the most important artists of the last century. Kollwitz developed her own style between expressionism and realism. She created works that were placed against the background of social conditions in Berlin at the end of the 19th century, as well as those based on her own personal experiences. It was her opinion that art should reflect society.
Few artists could present emotions as impressively as Käthe Kollwitz. The great scope of her work consisted, above all; of grief, suffering, death, hunger, and war. She dedicated the sculpture Trauerndes Elternpaar (Grieving Parents) to her son who fell during the war. The works of the resolute pacifist are regarded as frighteningly realistic and oppressive. An enlarged replica of her famous Pietà (a figure of a mother who cradles her dead son) is now on display at the Central Memorial of the Federal Republic of Germany in Berlin.
During the Second World War, her home was bombed, destroying numerous graphics, prints, and printing plates.
In spite of her marriage to physician Karl Kollwitz, Käthe Kollwitz was open about her “leaning towards my own sex,” adding that “bisexuality is almost necessary for artistic activity.”