Old ideas die hard. We’ve had thousands of years of women having almost no rights. Parts of the world are in a struggle toward very basic human rights for women, and most of the world isn’t even there yet. And it’s going to take a long time to change these attitudes
Kathe Kollwitz was a Prussian born German artist who depicted the stories of those in need through painting, printmaking, and sculpture. Concentrating on marginalized groups such as women and the working class, her expressionistic portraits proved controversial in a male-dominated art sphere. Her husband was a doctor, and his patients often served as models. Witnessing both World Wars also contributed to the emotional devastation she portrayed. Her empathy, combined with the quality of the work made her one of the 20th century’s most significant artists of social protest. She concentrated on printmaking because of her desire to make her work accessible to more people.
In 1919 the Prussian Academy awarded her the first female professorship in their history. The Nazi government forced her to resign that position in 1933, along with forbidding her to exhibit her art.
Born 1867, Prussia (now Russia); Died 1945, Germany
- Kollwitz, “Diary and Letters of Kaethe Kollwitz”, 1989.
- MOMA, https://www.moma.org/artists/3201