Käthe Kollwitz - Portraits in Focus
19 August - 26 September 2021

»The expression in his eyes –
a brooding glance into the distance«

Käthe Kollwitz - Portraits in Focus

From Käthe Kollwitz’ (1867-1945) extensive work, it is above all her self portraits that have become a firm part of collective memory. Her portraits of family members and contemporaries, by contrast, are far less well-known. These works include portraits of notable politicians, fellow artists, as well as depictions of unknown men and women, usually with a working-class background. Kollwitz captures their physiognomies and postures – sometimes with sketch-like verve, sometimes in a highly elaborate fashion – using pencil or charcoal to create imposing prints, ranging from etchings and lithographs to woodcuts. Mostly not on commission, but created as a result of her interest in people, impressive character studies are transformed in often spontaneous moments.

For the first time, the Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln will put her portraits from the museum’s own collection at the centre of a special exhibition. The works on display will include numerous rarely shown exhibits, among them the portrait of the painter Hedwig Weiß to which Kollwitz added the note »She has left her mark on me, so I make a drawing of her.« The exhibits also include a portrait of Cläry Bartning, wife of the architect Otto Bartning. This was the artist’s last lithograph, created in 1942, of which there is an edition of only four prints.


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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