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Städel Museum Städel Museum


20 Mar 2024 – 9 June 2024

She is the most famous German woman artist of the twentieth century and yet an exception: Käthe Kollwitz (1867–1945). The Städel Museum is devoting a comprehensive exhibition to her, presenting her in all her diversity, expressive power, and modernity.

Über die Ausstellung

She boldly chose prints and drawings as her essential media, finding in them an independent visual language of great immediacy. From a new perspective, her art addressed existential human questions and was therefore politically appropriated by many attitudes and issues in post-war Germany.

The Städel Museum has an extensive collection of works by Käthe Kollwitz, including almost all of the prints published in editions, as well as prints and drawings reworked by hand. The exhibition at the Städel Museum presents more than 110 impressive works on paper, sculptures, and early paintings by the artist from this remarkable collection as well as from leading museums and Kollwitz collections. Surprising, unconventional works such as “Self-portrait with head in hand” (1889/91, Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln, Cologne), works unusually painterly for Kollwitz such as “Female nude seen from the back with green shawl” (1903, Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin) and “Parisian Cellar Tavern” (1904, Sprengel Museum Hannover), and selected sculptures such as “Tower of Mothers” (1937/38, Museum Folkwang, Essen) will be presented together with other outstanding loans from the Berlin Kupferstichkabinett, the Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln, Cologne, the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, and the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, among others.

St presse kollwitz Brustbild einer Arbeiterfrau mit blauem Tuch 1903

Käthe Kollwitz (1867–1945)
Half-length portrait of a working-class woman with blue shawl, 1903

St presse kollwitz Pariser Kellerlokal 1904

Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945)
Parisian Cellar Tavern, 1904

St presse kollwitz Losbruch Blatt 5 aus dem Zuyklus Bauernkrieg 1902

Käthe Kollwitz (1867–1945)
Outbreak, Plate 5 from “The Peasants’ War , 1902/03

St presse kollwitz Zwei Studien einer Arbeiterfrau 1910

Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945)
Two Studies of a Labourer Woman, 1910

St presse kollwitz Weiblicher Rueckenakt auf gruenem Tuch 1903

Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945)
Female nude seen from the back with green shawl, 1903

The exhibition at the Städel Museum allows visitors to experience Kollwitz’s work in all its diversity and impressive quality through various chapters. The focus is on her choice of the graphic medium and on unusual themes that are both existential and topical. The memorable imagery, the dramaturgically pointed compositions, and the bodies grouped in expressive choreographies are explored through individual groups of works. The focus is on Kollwitz’s experiments with colour and form, the processual nature of her work, and the tension between politics and aesthetics. Last but not least, the exhibition offers an overview of how the artist was interpreted in the two German states after 1945, a very special history of reception that in some cases still has an impact today.

Dr. Regina Freyberger (Head of Prints and Drawings after 1800, Städel Museum)

Her prints and drawings comment on a whole range of socially and politically relevant issues, and Kollwitz and her work have thus often been instrumentalised in Germany. For the Städel Museum, this is an important reason to enable an unbiased encounter with this important artist of classical modernism.

Philipp Demandt, Director, Städel Museum


Sponsored by
DZ BANK, Gemeinnützige Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain GmbH

With additional support from
Georg und Franziska Speyer’sche Hochschulstiftung, Wolfgang Ratjen Stiftung