Turning points – changes and new departures in the work of Käthe Kollwitz
10 January – 24 March 2019


Changes and new departures in the work of Käthe Kollwitz

Kaiserreich, First World War, Weimar Republic, World War II – the life of Käthe Kollwitz (1867–1945) was marked by historical sea changes. She commented on these political events in her art, her diaries and letters like hardly any other artist, always driven by her longing for the brotherhood of man.

This special exhibition coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War will document this field of tension in the work of Käthe Kollwitz.

More than 200 of Kollwitz’ drawings, prints and sculptures as well as her most popular posters from the museum’s permanent collection will form part of this show which will also include both newly acquired prints and numerous, rarely shown works. The exhibition takes visitors through eight chapters and provides in-depth information on historical events and the artist’s biography.


I agree with my art serving a purpose.«

Käthe Kollwitz, Nie wieder Krieg! Plakat, Kreidelithographie (Umdruck), 1924, Kn 205 III b, Cologne Kollwitz Collection © Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln
Käthe Kollwitz, Nie wieder Krieg! Plakat, Kreidelithographie (Umdruck), 1924, Kn 205 III b

Even as a child, when Bismarck was still the German Chancellor, Käthe Kollwitz dreamt of revolution and barricades. Her early work is an expression of her progressive views and social criticism Her themes are – despite being presented in a literary or historical guise – extremely topical. Wilhelm II and the representatives of imperial Germany rejected the artist’s works.

Shortly after the outbreak of the First World War, Kollwitz’ younger son Peter, who volunteered, was killed in action. His death signified a deep cut in the artist’s life. As the war dragged on, she increasingly adopted pacifist values.

During the Weimar Republic Kollwitz was at the pinnacle of her renown and used her status to support the establishment of the fledgling democracy. In many of her works during the years of inflation she endeavoured to mitigate the misery of the people. Another matter of importance to her was the pacifist education of the young generation.


For Germany, I am dead … «

In 1932, and again in 1933 after Hitler’s accession to power, Käthe Kollwitz signed a petition for a union of left-wing parties in order to thwart a National-Socialist majority, which was not without consequences – she was forced to resign from the Prussian Academy of Art. From 1936 onwards, the artist was faced with a de-facto exhibition ban, which prevented her from taking a public stance against World War II, a conflict which she foresaw early on.

Shortly before the end of the War, on 22 April 1945, the artist died while living at Moritzburg whereto she had been evacuated.

Kurz vor Ende des Krieges, am 22. April 1945, stirbt Käthe Kollwitz nach ihrer Evakuierung an ihren letzten Zufluchtsort in Moritzburg. Until the very end, she has held on to her deep conviction:


But one day a new ideal will arise, and it will end with all the war.«


Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln

Neumarkt 18-24 / Neumarkt Passage

50667 Köln

+49 (0)221 227 2899

+49 (0)221 227 2602

Opening hours

Tue - Sun

11 am – 6 pm

Public holidays

11 am – 6 pm

First Thu each month

11 am – 8 pm



Please note

Visiting the museum is possible for everyone without Covid 19-related restrictions.

However, we recommend wearing a medical mask during your stay in the museum or at our events and continuing to observe the general hygiene and distance rules.

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