Death and Woman, Käthe Kollwitz
Käthe Kollwitz
Death and Woman
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Printing plate

Käthe Kollwitz: Tod und Frau, Druckplatte. Stiftung Archiv der Akademie der Künste, Kunstsammlung, Berlin

Käthe Kollwitz

Death and Woman, 1910

728 x 560 mm
448 x 446 mm
Physical Description
Line etching, drypoint, sandpaper, soft ground, some roulette
Inventory Number
Object Number
66347 D
Acquired in 1948 as a donation from the heirs of the Carl Hagemann estate
On display, Special Exhibitions


About the Work

The human body is the true motif of Kollwitz’s work. In vivid body language, she staged – or, more aptly, choreographed – it as a timeless, gestural-emotional form of expression. This is especially apparent in the works in which she reflected on motherhood as an existential experience characterized by unconditional, instinctual love and fear of irreversible loss.

When she expands these compositions to include the figure of Death, it is not as a detached vis-à-vis. Rather, Death joins the embrace, which in its dynamic often takes on a virtually dance-like quality.

With this physical – indeed, corporal – ‘entanglement’, the artist achieved a new and entirely unconventional way of formulating the classical pictorial subject.

About the Acquisition

From 1900 onwards, the Frankfurt chemist and industrialist Carl Hagemann (1867‒1940) assembled one of the most important private collections of modern art. It included numerous paintings, drawings, watercolours and prints, especially by members of the artist group “Die Brücke”. After Carl Hagemann died in an accident during the Second World War, the then Städel director Ernst Holzinger arranged for Hagemann’s heirs to evacuate his collection with the museum’s collection. In gratitude, the family donated almost all of the works on paper to the Städel Museum in 1948. Further donations and permanent loans as well as purchases of paintings and watercolours from the Hagemann estate helped to compensate for the losses the museum had suffered in 1937 as part of the Nazi’s “Degenerate Art” campaign. Today, the Hagemann Collection forms the core of the Städel museum’s Expressionist collection.

Work Data

Basic Information

Death and Woman
Period Produced
Object Type
Physical Description
Line etching, drypoint, sandpaper, soft ground, some roulette
Geographic Reference
Label at the Time of Manufacture
Signiert unterhalb der Darstellung rechts (mit Bleistift): Käthe Kollwitz
Signiert vom Drucker unterhalb der Darstellung links (mit Bleistift): O. Felsing Berlin gedr.
Captions Added Later
Nummeriert unten mittig (mit Bleistift): 172
Verso mittig links Stempel des Städelschen Kunstinstituts, Frankfurt am Main (Lugt 2356), mit zugehöriger Inventarnummer
  • Nicht vorhanden
Work Catalogues
  • von dem Knesebeck 107 V c (von VIII)
  • Klipstein 103 V a (von VIII)

Property and Acquisition

Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Picture Copyright
Public Domain
Acquired in 1948 as a donation from the heirs of the Carl Hagemann estate

Work Content

Motifs and References

Persons Shown


  • 31D15 adult woman
  • 31A14 human figure of ideal proportions, e.g. academic nude
  • 31F26 Death as skeleton

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