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Kathe Kollwitz Quotes


Kathe Kollwitz
  • Mini Bio
  • Name: Käthe Schmidt Kollwitz
  • Born: 8th July 1867, Königsberg, Prussia
  • Died: 22nd April 1945, Moritzburg, Saxony, Germany
  • Alma mater: Prussian Academy of Arts
  • Occupation: Artist, painter and sculptress
  • Nationality: German
  • Movement: Expressionism
  • Influenced by: Max Klinger
  • Notable works of art: Memorial for Karl Liebknecht (1919), The Survivors (1923), Germany's Children Starve (1924) and Death Seizing A Woman (1934)
  • Trivia: The Berlin Academy Of Arts established in 1960 the Kathe Kollwitz Prize to be awarded annually to an artist living and working in Germany who has either produced an outstanding piece of art work or on the merits of their complete body of works. The award is sponsored by Kreissparkasse Köln, the owner of the Käthe Kollwitz Museum in Cologne
  • Scroll down for full bio and many great quotes

"I thought I was a revolutionary and was only an evolutionary"

Kathe Kollwitz

"I felt that I have no right to withdraw from the responsibility of being an advocate. It is my duty to voice the sufferings of people, the sufferings that never end and are as big as mountains"

Kathe Kollwitz

"Every war already carries within it the war that will answer it. Every war is answered by a new war, until everything is smashed"

Kathe Kollwitz

"I want to have an effect on my time, in which human beings are so confused and in need of help"

Kathe Kollwitz

"The artist is usually a child of his times, especially if his formative years fell in the period of early socialism"

Kathe Kollwitz

"Middle-class people held no appeal for me at all. Bourgeois life on the whole seemed to me pedantic"

Kathe Kollwitz

"For work, one must be hard and thrust outside of oneself what one has lived through"

Kathe Kollwitz

"If everyone recognizes and fulfills his cycle of obligations, genuineness emerges"

Kathe Kollwitz

"I have been through a revolution, and I am convinced that I am no revolutionist"

Kathe Kollwitz

"I do not want to die ... until I have faithfully made the most of my talent"

Kathe Kollwitz

"No longer diverted by other emotions, I work the way a cow grazes"

Kathe Kollwitz

"There must be understanding between the artist and the people"

Kathe Kollwitz

"Pacifism simply is not a matter of calm looking on; it is hard work"

Kathe Kollwitz

"Look at life with the eyes of a child"

Kathe Kollwitz

"My only hope is in world socialism"

Kathe Kollwitz

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Kathe Kollwitz Biography

Kathe Kollwitz was the Prussian born artist who specialised in portraying grief in paintimgs, drawings and statues and gained international recognition as the most prominent female German artist of her era and the twentieth century.

The tortured artist is a common theme that has run through the creative talents from the torment of Michelangelo to the ear cutting of Van Gogh and it seems artists have to feel the pain of great grief to tap into their inner most brilliance. Kollowitz from an early age used her art to highlight the plight of the oppressed, impoverished or downtrodden but it was a personal tragedy that really sparked the creative genius to rise into the realms of monumental fine art.

She readily admitted she led a happy life up until 1914 but her life would change forever as she lost her son Peter in the first few weeks of WW1. She was devastated by grief and wracked with guilt about not doing more to prevent him from volunteering.



In a graphic illustration of art imitating life her prints and statues gradually started to embody the pain she was feeling, to the observer you can feel the desperation and pain in her art. An emotional entry into her diary in 1920 left a poignant Käthe Kollwitz quote when she wrote: "Art should grip and shatter the human heart", and indeed her art certainly attained this level of emotional feeling.

From the moment of her sons pointless death she drifted into becoming a fully blown pacifist both vocally and artistically which led her to losing her position as a professor on the Prussian Academy of Arts in 1933 as the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler deemed her as unpatriotic. She remained outspoken and three years later the Gestapo wanted to send her and her family to a concentration camp but her international recognition was her saving grace.

The futility of war was to hit home again in a recurring nightmare when she lost her grandson, also named Peter, in the Russian theatre of war in 1942. These days her art graces the streets of Berlin and can be seen in a number of museums displaying the fruits of her artistic talents. She was also good for a one liner so here is my compilation of 15 of the best Kathe Kollwitz quotes

Quotes About Kathe Kollwitz

The author Rory MacLean said this of the talented artist: "Kathe Kollwitz took life as it was and, charged yet unbroken, captured in her art the pain suffered in this place by its mothers and children"

Director of the Käthe Kollwitz Museum Dr. Iris Berndt said: "She is the standard when it comes to selflessness and furthering the cause of the weak and the vulnerable"

The German dramatist Gerhart Hauptmann said: "Her silent lines penetrate the marrow like a cry of pain; such a cry was never heard among the Greeks and Romans"


Kathe Kollwitz image quote