Käthe Kollwitz in Dresden Moritzburg

»Saatfrüchte sollen nicht vermahlen werden« von Käthe Kollwitz
At the end of 1941, Käthe Kollwitz created her last lithograph, which was directed against the recruitment of minors for military service: "Seeds should not be ground". The original hangs today in the Käthe Kollwitz House in Dresden Moritzburg. Photo: Käthe Kollwitz House

Käthe Kollwitz' art is currently experiencing an astonishing comeback. Frankfurt, New York and Copenhagen are honoring the artist with major exhibitions this year. But there is no other place where you can get as close to her as in the small, lovingly designed museum in Dresden Moritzburg: her only residence that survived war and destruction and the place where she later died. April 22 marked the 79th anniversary of her death.

Translated with DeepL.com (free version)

She painted no still lifes, no lovely landscapes, nothing pleasing. The artist wanted to “make an impact in this time”. She took a stand against social grievances, focused on the disadvantaged and denounced the incomprehensible suffering and senselessness of war. At the same time, there is a great deal of closeness in her works, a tenderness and humanism that Käthe Kollwitz stood for with her whole person. With her unmistakable, touching visual language, she appeals to what unites us as human beings: concern for our children, the desire for a peaceful, self-determined life. Her messages are more relevant today than ever.

There’s never been so much Käthe

Der Rüdenhof, eine Anlage aus dem 18. Jahrhundert nahe dem Jagdschloß Moritzburg, war Käthe Kollwitz´ letzter Wohnsitz. Das heutige Käthe Kollwitz Haus lebt von einer besonderen, persönlichen Atmosphäre. Foto: Käthe Kollwitz Haus

“Never again war!” is the current motto at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA). It is the first major exhibition of Käthe Kollwitz in New York and the first in the USA for 30 years. Frankfurt am Main and soon Copenhagen in Denmark will also be showing major retrospectives of the artist’s work. There is a Kollwitz Museum in Cologne, Berlin – and near Dresden, just a few steps away from Moritzburg Castle. The Käthe Kollwitz House in Moritzburg has a special history and personal atmosphere.

Käthe Kollwitz’ time in Moritzburg

Käthe Kollwitz’s view from the window was of Moritzburg Castle and the castle pond. Photo: Florian Kneffel (DML BY)

After her Berlin apartment was bombed out, Käthe, who was already widowed and had lost a son in the First World War and a grandson in the Second World War, was offered two rooms in the “Rüdenhof”, an outbuilding of Moritzburg Castle. She spent the last months of her life there and died just a few days before the end of the war.

How, with whom, did she spend this time while Germany was collapsing? She no longer drew, her eyes failed her. Instead, she spent a lot of time sitting at the window with a view of the castle, lake and sky. Her granddaughter Jutta was with her. “I read to her, especially Goethe, we also laughed together, but nothing could counter the deep depression triggered by the never-ending war events. As frail and disabled as she was, she retained her charisma, her humanity and her dignity. A queen in exile, of the greatest impressiveness,” she wrote.

From Rüdenhof to the Käthe Kollwitz House

Neben einer kleinen Galerie im Erdgeschoss sind die sieben Räume der oberen Etage Käthes Leben und Werk gewidmet. Foto: Käthe Kollwitz Haus

Seit 1995 ist das Haus am Rande der Moritzburger Schlossteiche als Museum eingerichtet. Vom breiten Treppenabsatz am oberen Ende der Wendeltreppe öffnen sich die Räume mit den hohen Fenstern für Besucher und erlauben einen Rundgang über dunkle Dielenböden und zwischen hellen Wänden. Am Ende führt er ins Balkon- und Eckzimmer, die beiden Räume, die Käthe hier bewohnt hat und in denen sie starb. Sieben Räume sind ihrem Leben und Werk gewidmet. Sie enthalten eine chronologisch aufgebaute Sammlung aus mehr als 50 Jahre künstlerischen Schaffens. Darunter Unikate wie die Grafik „Saatfrüchte sollen nicht vermahlen werden“, die nach dem Tod ihres 19-jährigen Enkels an der Ostfront entstand, Selbstbildnisse und einige Plastiken. Aber auch Persönliches, Fotografien, Tagebuch- und Briefauszüge, die viel vom Wesen der Kollwitz erzählen.

An authentic place of remembrance

Today, the significance of her last residence lies not in the size of the collection – there is more of her to see in the Kupferstichkabinett – but in its authenticity. A diary she kept, a washstand she used, a death mask of Goethe from her personal collection – the house breathes the memory of her life and work. The rooms and their presentation are simple and direct. They are a memorial to Käthe, just as she would have liked it.

Käthe Kollwitz Haus Moritzburg, Meißner Str. 7, 01468 Moritzburg, the museum is within walking distance of Moritzburg Castle (approx. 10 minutes)

Opening hours: April to October: Tue to Fri 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sat and Sun 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., November to March: Wed to Fri 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Sat and Sun 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

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