Fifty years of Berlin art history awaits. Learn more about the formidable painter and sculptress at the Käthe-Kollwitz-Museum.
The German sculptress and graphic artist Käthe Kollwitz boasts a poignant oeuvre that focuses on social inequality and the fight against war. This museum houses 200 drawings and prints, sculptural works, as well as the famous woodcut series about the war. The heart of the collection is a series of self portraits spanning 50 years.
Never again war: An artist of the workers and the peace movement
When Käthe Kollwitz moves to Berlin in the 19th century, she lives in the working class district of Prenzlauer Berg. As the wife of a socially committed doctor, she is no stranger to suffering, poverty and hunger. She is concerned with social inequality and war resistance, and these themes are expressed in her work. She dies in Moritzburg near Dresden in 1945. Three years later, the art dealer Hans Pels-Leusden collects her drawings, and in 1986, he exhibits his collection, and the Käthe-Kollwitz-Museum Berlin opens.
The works are housed in a bourgeois, late-classic villa in Fasanenstraße in Berlin-Charlottenburg. As soon as you enter, you get a feeling of emerging industrial life in the city. The permanent exhibition captures the zeitgeist of the period very well. Visitors also get to know Kollwitz's role models and friends, like for instance Max Liebermann. From the staircase onwards, a biographical guide takes you to the first floor where information about Kollwitz's work up until WW1 awaits.
Then comes the second part of the exhibition. Between 1914 and 1945, Kollwitz creates some of the most important graphics and sculptures of her time, particularly the lithographs in the form of 15 large printed posters. Towards the end of her life, the artist struggles heavily with the theme of death in her work. On the brightly lit top floor, the stunning Käthe Kollwitz sculpture by Gustav Seitz, measuring over two metres, is a sight to behold.
Highlights of the exhibition
Introductory exhibition, the life and work of the artist on the ground floor.
15 large poster prints.
200 drawings and lithographs, including self-portraits, and the iconic "War" woodcut collection.
Sculpture by Gustav Seitz on the top floor.
Collection of sculptural works by Käthe Kollwitz.
Art and history around Kurfürstendamm
Right next door on Fasanenstraße is Berlin's Literaturhaus which, as the name indicates, concentrates on the written word. Literaturhaus regularly organises literary events, readings, and symposiums, and they have a large winter garden café. 450 metres away on Kurfürstendamm is the interactive private museum The Story Of Berlin, which spreads over 6000 square metres. Discover Berlin's history of the last 800 years in the 23 themed rooms. A highlight of this exhibition is the original nuclear bunker under Kurfürstendamm.
Tips for your visit
The quickest way to the Käthe-Kollwitz-Museum Berlin is by the underground line U1. From the Uhlandstraße station it is only 250 metres on foot. Alternatively, the museum is about 800 metres from the traffic junction of Zoologischer Garten. The exhibition is open daily, including Mondays. Entry is free to those below 18 years of age. Public guided tours are available on the last Sunday and every second Wednesday of the month for a fee. You can also book personal guided tours in English, French, Russian and Spanish. On the last Sunday of each month, the Museum shows you how to use the lithopress.
The Käthe-Kollwitz-Museum Berlin offers an information brochure in PDF format and a museum quiz for schools to download and print. For school classes, various workshops are offered by appointment.