After more than 25 years of enthusiastic collecting, the museum's exhibits now comprise about 300 drawings, more than 500 prints, and all her posters and sculptures. Among the drawings - a focal point of the collection - there are some of her most impressive works, many from her later phase when she was predominantly preoccupied with the theme of death.
Of her earlier work, three of the less than ten pastel and charcoal drawings that have been preserved and which she produced for the satirical periodical "Simplicissimus" are represented in the museum's collection. Sketch-like preparatory drawings, which throw light on the genesis of important prints, are also part of the collection. A focal point of these works is the history of the creation of her cycle entitled "Peasants' War" (1901-1908) and her series named "War" (1921/1922).
In the field of prints all her great cycles are represented. These are milestones not only in the development of Käthe Kollwitz' work, but also in the development of 20th century prints in general. These prints include her earlier cycles "A Weavers' Revolt" (1893-1897) and "Peasants' War" (1901-1908) which were based on literary models, the woodcut series "War" (1921-1922), "Proletariat" (1925) and the later series of lithographs "Death" (1934-1937). In addition, the collection comprises individual works such as her last lithograph "Seed for sowing should not be milled" from the year 1941, which is the artist's legacy in her fight against war and the death of soldiers in action.
Recently, the Käthe Kollwitz Museum in Cologne succeeded in acquiring very rare prints from an important private collection which had been largely unknown to the general public. Among them are three early self-portraits: two etchings and a large-scale colour lithograph from 1903/4. The "Self-portrait en face" is printed in four colours. Being an experimental leaf, no further prints were made. For this reason, this print is unique and a highlight in the artist's œuvre as well as an example of the museum's successful acquisition policy.
The 15 bronze sculptures are of particular importance as almost all the examples shown in the museum are rare early casts. Together with the copy of "The Mourning Parents" in the ruin of the church of Alt St. Alban and the relief on the Levy tombstone in the Jewish cemetery in Bocklemünd, Cologne provides the unique opportunity of an overview of the artist's complete sculptural work.
The Kollwitz posters, all of which are represented in the museum, are a rare highlight of the collection. The artist created them above all in the 1920s following her motto "I would like to exert influence in these times". The posters express an anti-war message and emphasise the artist's commitment to social justice, humanity and peace. Another part of the collection which is meanwhile almost complete is Käthe Kollwitz' book illustrations.
All the works by Käthe Kollwitz illustrated in our Internet presentation are part of the collection of the Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln.