Of the artist’s roughly 100 nude drawings, most of them were created during her time as an art student until 1890, and then later between 1904-1906 and 1910-1912. While she was still working on the »Peasants War« cycle in 1904, Kollwitz began an exploration of the basics of sculpting at the Académie Julian in Paris where she studied for several months. In preparation for these studies she concentrated on nude drawings. After completing the »Peasants War« cycle in 1908, Käthe Kollwitz found the time to embark on her first few sculptural experiments.
Apart from the nude drawings, several representations of pairs of lovers have been preserved. These include some erotic love scenes that are categorised as so-called ›Secreta‹ and which Käthe Kollwitz never exhibited publicly during her lifetime. In 1920 she commented on this small group of works in her diary:
I went through my portfolios once more. Many, many very poor and mediocre works. Only the portfolio on Death II contained some beautiful sheets. And of course the Secreta, which, however, I won’t sell or show. I don’t know what will happen to them after my death.«
Käthe Kollwitz, Diaries, 8 April 1920
During her lifetime, the artist looked through her drawings and destroyed a number of works, not, however, the ›Secreta‹ which she valued from an artistic point of view.
Käthe Kollwitz, Four Female Nudes, 1888/1889, charcoal, NT 23
Käthe Kollwitz, Standing Female Nude, 1900, line etching and drypoint on copperplate paper, Kn 50 II c
Käthe Kollwitz, Female Nude, Half-figure, with Pole, 1901?, lithograph from aluminium plates, with scratch technique in the drawing plate, reddish brown on thin Bristol cardboard, Kn 58b
Käthe Kollwitz, Female Nude, c 1904-1906, charcoal, NT 318
Käthe Kollwitz, Female Nude from behind, kneeling, 1904-06, black chalk, NT 339
Käthe Kollwitz, Seated Female Nude from behind, looking right, c 1910-1912, charcoal on brown paper, NT 674
Käthe Kollwitz, Pair of Lovers, huddling against each other, 1909/1910, charcoal, blotted, on grey Ingres paper, NT 559
Käthe Kollwitz, The Embrace, c 1909/1910, charcoal drawing, partly blotted, on yellowish laid paper, NT (559a)
Käthe Kollwitz, Love Scene I, c 1909/1910, charcoal, blotted, NT 561
Käthe Kollwitz, Pair of Lovers, 1913-1915, bronze, Seeler 13.II.B.9.