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Käthe Kollwitz

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Käthe Kollwitz

German, (1867–1945)
Käthe Kollwitz was a German artist whose Expressionistic prints, woodcuts, and sculptures empathetically portrayed human suffering. Capturing the anguish and plight of the impoverished and injured in a country torn apart by armed conflict, Kollwitz herself suffered numerous losses during the wars—including the death of her youngest son in World War I. Born in Königsberg (now Kaliningrad), Prussia, Kollwitz showed a high aptitude for drawing at an early age, and studied at the Women’s Academy in both Berlin and Munich, where she became captivated by the work of Peter Paul Rubens. Her series of etchings The Weavers (1898) first brought her critical attention, and she joined the Berlin Secession from 1901 until 1913 alongside its notable members Emil Nolde, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, and Max Beckmann. A lifelong pacifist, the artist’s work served as a pointed social and political critique of nationalism. Later in life, she faced persecution at the hands of the Nazi Regime, but was undaunted in her creative output.

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