Käthe Kollwitz, Mother with Child over her Shoulder, before 1917, bronze, Seeler 15 I.B.3., Cologne Kollwitz Collection © Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln

This work is among the earliest sculptural experiments of the artist. It is the first sculpture known to us in which she conspicuously explored the aspect of ›all-round visibility‹ of a three-dimensional work.

In the older Kollwitz literature, this motif is generally associated with the solemn and sombre pictorial motif that the artist explored in 1915, after the death of her youngest son Peter who fell on the Western Front in Belgium. During that period, she began to formulate the motif of the »Sacrifice« which she used later in a different compositional version as the first sheet in her woodcut series »War«. The more recent Kollwitz research, by contrast, emphasises the more playful, even humorous aspect with the infant sticking out its bottom to the observer while clambering about its mother and curiously peeping across her shoulder to discover the world. There is evidence in support of either interpretation, depending upon the observer’s point of view.

Although the artist was evidently fond of this group – she had it with her at her last refuge in Moritzburg until her death – no bronze or zinc casts were made from it during her lifetime.


Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln

Neumarkt 18-24 / Neumarkt Passage

50667 Köln

+49 (0)221 227 2899

+49 (0)221 227 2602

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First Thu each month

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Please note

The Käthe Kollwitz Museum's exhibition rooms are temporarily closed due to extensive renovation work.

You are welcome to visit our pop-up space RAUM FÜR NEUES - open Tuesday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., each first Thursday of the month 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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