Käthe Kollwitz and the three dimensional: ‘Is my sculpture not simply transposed drawing?’
by Dr Annette Seeler
By the age of 36, Käthe Kollwitz (1867–1945) had already achieved renown as a graphic artist. Then, in 1904, she decided to take up a new field: three-dimensional art. In the Spring of that year she took an eight week sculpture course at the Académie Julian in Paris, so that she could familiarise herself with the basics of sculptural design. Some years later, in around 1911/12, she attended a life class at a private art school in Berlin. This was the only training she received. Apart from these two courses, she explored this terrain by herself, learning through doing. This was therefore a stony path, where for long stretches of time her steps were plagued by self-doubt, as well as occasional external criticism. Nevertheless, she pursued her path doggedly, following her own ideas. Even though her surviving three-dimensional oeuvre is somewhat small, it includes two important life-size sculptures, as well as several small-scale ones which are much admired by connoisseurs and collectors.
Dr Annette Seeler studied art history, general and comparative literature and philosophy in
Munich and Berlin. She worked for 10 years as a research employee at the Käthe Kollwitz Museum
in Berlin and then as a freelance curator and author, with clients in Germany and the USA. Annette
Seeler realised numerous exhibitions and published in catalogues, handbooks and journals on early
20th century art and repeatedly on Käthe Kollwitz. As an established expert on the artist’s oeuvre, in 2010 she was commissioned to research a catalogue raisonné of Kollwitz’s sculpture, which was
published in book form in 2016, accompanied by an online catalogue that is still being updated
today. She is currently working on another major research and exhibition project on the artist.