150th anniversary of the artist’s birth
13 June – 17 September 2017
Gustav Seitz:
A memorial for Käthe Kollwitz

On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Käthe Kollwitz’ birth, the Käthe Kollwitz Museum in Cologne will focus on the most important memorial to the artist – Gustav Seitz’ commemorative Kollwitz sculpture that was erected in Kollwitzplatz in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg district in 1961. Drawings, models and workshop photographs will help visitors track the fascinating history of this memorial.

The larger-than-life memorial shows Kollwitz as an elderly, pensive woman. The figure is seated, a large portfolio at her side. She holds a charcoal crayon in her hand which rests in her lap. Seitz created this sculpture between 1956 and 60. It is based on Käthe Kollwitz’ last lithographic self-portrait from 1938. By quoting Kollwitz’ work and basing this memorial on the character she had specified, the sculptor placed this portrait in a new, unique context. Seitz created a work in accordance with Kollwitz’ views – a memorial that aspires to universal validity and relinquishes formal patterns of representation, without attempts at romanticising or idealising the artist.

Seitz’ memorial is undoubtedly among the most important works of sculpture from that era, and at the same time apex and caesura in the sculptor’s artistic career. As a student, Seitz had met Käthe Kollwitz when she was an academy professor, and for his understanding of art and his view of humanity Kollwitz was of great importance, both as an individual and as a modern artist.

This exhibition in conjunction with the Gustav Seitz Foundation in Hamburg documents the fascinating development of pictorial invention – from initial sketches and technical drawings to plaster models and a variety of different casts in bronze. Historical photographs from Seitz’ studio provide additional insight into his work.


Käthe Kollwitz in portraits and self-portraits
from the Museum’s collection

Accompanying the special exhibition a presentation of Kollwitz’ portraits and self-portraits from the museum’s own collection – from one of the earliest self-portraits in pen and ink to her last lithograph, which Seitz used as a model for his memorial – will once again be the focal point of the 150th anniversary of the artist’s birth on 8 July.

These more than 60 works from the Cologne Kollwitz collection are impressive evidence of the artist’s constant, intensive self-scrutiny. Faithful to her motto “I want to be true, genuine, undyed, Kollwitz developed her portrait in autonomous and ‘disguised’ self-portraits to create an unmistakable character – self-critical and unsanitized.
Other artists, such as the sculptor Ernst Barlach, the newspaper cartoonist Emil Stumpp, as well as painters and graphic artists such as Hedwig Weiß and Max Uhlig used Käthe Kollwitz’ expressive physiognomy in their own work to pay homage to this great philanthropist.

This exhibition will also feature photographs of Kollwitz by Philipp Kester, Hugo Erfurth, Robert Senneke, E.O. Hoppé, Lotte Jacobi, Tita Binz and others. Historical and contemporary publications and archive materials will provide insight into the history of the reception of Kollwitz’s work, and quotations from letters and diaries will complement this show. 


€ 5,00 // red. € 2,00

Opening Times 
Tue-Fri: 10am to 6pm // Sat, Sun, public holidays: 11am to 6pm
Closed Mondays

Guided group visits
For Adults: € 60,00
Weekend, public holidays: € 70,00
For Pupils / Students: € 20,00

For more informations:
+49 (0) 221 / 227 2899 
Gustav Seitz in his studio in the Academy of Arts, Berlin, Pariser Platz, 1957, working on the plaster model of the Kollwitz monument. Photo: Raddatz-Roski, Berlin 
© Gustav Seitz Stiftung, Hamburg

Käthe Kollwitz, Self-Portrait in profile towards right, 1938, crayon lithograph (transfer)
© Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln