Tower of Mothers, 1937/1938

Bronze, 281.5 (h) 275 (w) 287 (d) mm, Seeler 35 II.B.1.

Käthe Kollwitz, Tower of Mothers, 1937/1938, bronze, Seeler 35 II.B.1, Cologne Kollwitz Collection © Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln

The idea for this sculpture had already emerged 15 years before it was finally executed. While working on »The Mothers«, the sixth sheet of the series »War«, Käthe Kollwitz had the idea of creating »a sculpture of mothers standing in a circle to defend their children« (Käthe Kollwitz, Diaries, April 1922).

Although this group is a three-dimensional sculpture, it has, like all of Kollwitz’ sculptures, clearly a front view from which the mothers’ postures can be seen in all their complexity. Compared with the woodcut for the »War« series, the mothers’ anxiously defensive expressions have given way to offensive determination. This is particularly obvious in the figure of the woman leaning forward and standing firmly, her legs apart, to confront the danger, while stretching back her arms to protect the children.

The »Tower of Mothers« is one of few sculptures of Käthe Kollwitz which were not only planned as bronze casts but were actually implemented during her lifetime. In 1938, according to Otto Nagel, it is removed by the National Socialists from the Christmas Exhibition of the Ateliergemeinschaft Klosterstraße of which Käthe Kollwitz was a member from 1934 until 1940.

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