Käthe Kollwitz

Mar 31–Jul 20, 2024


Käthe Kollwitz. The Mothers (Mütter). 1918. Line etching, sandpaper, needle bundle, and soft ground with the imprint of laid paper overworked with black ink, opaque white, charcoal, and pencil. Plate: 9 5/8 x 12 1/2″ (24.5 x 31.8 cm); sheet 12 5/8 x 16 5/16″ (32 x 41.4 cm). Collection Ute Kahl, Cologne. Fuis Photographie
  • MoMA, Floor 3, 3 South The Edward Steichen Galleries

In the early decades of the 20th century, when many artists were experimenting with abstraction, Käthe Kollwitz remained committed to an art of social purpose. Focusing on themes of motherhood, grief, and resistance, she brought visibility to the working class and asserted the female point of view as a necessary and powerful agent for change. “I have no right to withdraw from the responsibility of being an advocate,” she wrote. “It is my duty to voice the sufferings of men, the never-ending sufferings heaped mountain-high.” The first major retrospective devoted to Kollwitz at a New York museum, this is also the largest exhibition of her work in the US in more than 30 years.

Born in the Prussian city of Königsberg (now Kaliningrad, Russia), Kollwitz was based in Berlin from the 1890s through the early 1940s, a period of turmoil in German history marked by the upheaval of industrialization and the traumas of two world wars. Though she had trained briefly as a painter, she quickly turned to drawing and printmaking as the most effective mediums for social criticism. This exhibition includes approximately 120 drawings, prints, and sculptures drawn from public and private collections in North America and Europe. Examples of the artist’s most iconic projects will showcase her political engagement, while preparatory studies and working proofs will highlight her intensive, ever-searching creative process.

Organized by Starr Figura, Curator, with Maggie Hire, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints.

The exhibition is made possible by Denise Littlefield Sobel.

Leadership support is provided by the Eyal and Marilyn Ofer Family Foundation.

Major funding is provided by the Dian Woodner Exhibition Endowment Fund.

Generous support is provided by The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art and by the Robert Lehman Foundation.

Additional funding is provided by David Bushler.

Major support for the publication is provided by The Museum of Modern Art’s Research and Scholarly Publications endowment established through the generosity of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Edward John Noble Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Perry R. Bass, and the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Challenge Grant Program.

The Bloomberg Connects digital experience is made possible through the support of Bloomberg Philanthropies.


  • Käthe Kollwitz Exhibition catalogue, Hardcover, 248 pages


Installation images

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