"Käthe Kollwitz: Life, Death and War”

06.09.2017 09:15 - 10.12.2017 17:30 | Dublin

Prints and drawings by German artist Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945) will be shown for the first time in the National Gallery of Ireland. “Käthe Kollwitz: Life, Death and War” will give the Irish public an opportunity to discover this important artist who created almost 300 prints, around 20 sculptures and some 1,450 drawings during her long career. 

The exhibition will comprise 38 prints and drawings from the rich collection of the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Germany along with two lithographs from the National Gallery of Ireland’s collection. These powerful works will allow visitors to reflect on the effects of war, in particular the grief left in its wake. Sadly the works are just as relevant now as they were when created in the early twentieth century.
Kollwitz’s work reminds us of the horror and ultimate futility of war and the exhibition commemorates, in an indirect way, the centenary of WWI. Kollwitz’s five print cycles: Revolt of the Weavers (1893-98), Peasant War (1902-08), War (1921-22), Proletariat (1924-25) and Death (1934-37) place her among the foremost printmakers of the twentieth century. Two of the print cycles Peasant War and War are included in this exhibition along with drawings and a number of honest self-portraits. These dark, moving prints can be seen as a poignant plea for the abolition of war and oppression for the sake of future generations.

Curator: Anne Hodge, National Gallery of Ireland

Opening hours:
Monday - Saturday: 9:15 am - 5:30 pm
Thursday: 9:15 am - 8:30 pm
Sunday: 11:00 am - 5:30 pm

The exhibition will be complemented by a wide-ranging programme of lectures, concerts and film screenings.
Details to be confirmed.

Accompanying programme of events in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut Irland

From the German Ambassador's speech at the opening ceremony of the exhibition:

".... Ladies and Gentlemen

It is my great honor  to host the opening ceremony to this Exhibition.

Käthe Kollwitz is one of the most famous German artists.

Looking at her work, her life, death and the war, shows us why she is – to this day – so important to us in Germany.

Her life was astonishing. Among other remarkable events, she was invited to become the first ever female Professor at the Prussian Academy of Arts.

But Death and War were, like for so many others in that period, recurring themes in Käthe Kollwitz`s life.

She lost her son Peter in 1914, in the early days of WWI. And she lost her Grandson in WWII.

These events changed her personal life, her artwork as well as her poltical life.

In her paintings and drawings she never became tired of showing the war and the suffering of the people in warzones and at home.

After the death of her son, she became a pacifist, creating the most noted poster of the anti-war-movement, which I am sure, many of you will know. It reads “Never again war”.

There is no one who can make the horrific events of the wars more perceivable than Käthe Kollwitz. Her work allows us, 103 years after the beginning of WW1, to commemorate the atrocities committed by Germany during the two World Wars. She enables us to remember the suffering of those, who were left behind and to perceive, what war meant for most families.

That is why her sculpture “Pieta”, showing a mother holding her dead son, is at the heart of Germanys Central Memorial for the Victims of War and Dictatorship in Berlin.

Today, 150 years after Käthe Kollwitz’s birthday, Europe has never seen a more peaceful time in its history.

The European Project shows, remarkably, that when nations come together, they can create peace, uphold justice and provide a peaceful path into the future.

These are values that Käthe Kollwitz would have shared wholeheartedly.


This exhibition, supported by the Goethe Institut, celebrates an artist, as well as a political person, who stood up for her believes.

And influences Germany to this day.

This exhibition allows us to perceive what war means, to appreciate life and to think of a future that brings more – not less – cooperation, a future that brings more – not less - solidarity among states and a future that brings more peace to the world.

Thank you very much for your attention."