The foundation of the Cologne Kollwitz Collection was laid in 1983 with the acquisition of a collection of 60 drawings by the Kreissparkasse Köln. Only two years later, thanks to further purchases and donations, the collection had grown to a representative size. It was quickly decided that the collection should not be sold on, but rather completed, made accessible to scholars and presented to the public as the first Käthe Kollwitz Museum.
In the meantime - after more than 35 years of dedicated collecting - the museum's holdings include around 300 drawings and more than 550 prints, as well as all of the artist's posters and the complete sculptural oeuvre in early casts that is available to the museum, expanded, among other things, by two extremely rare zinc casts made during the Second World War. Together with the copy of the memorial "Mourning Parents" in the church ruins of Alt St. Alban and the "Grave Relief Levy" in the Jewish Cemetery in Bocklemünd, this gives Cologne the unique opportunity to survey almost the entire sculptural oeuvre of the artist.
The Cologne museum sees its mission, among other things, in opening up new access to Kollwitz's work and in illustrating the high artistic content of her work in drawing, graphic art and sculpture. Special attention is paid to the scientific research and documentation of the artist's life and work, for which the Kreissparkasse Köln, as the sponsor of the museum, generously provides funds. Thus, as early as 2002, the two-volume catalog raisonné of the prints was published by Galerie Kornfeld Verlag, Bern. In March 2016, the first catalog raisonné of sculpture was published by Hirmer Verlag, Munich. Currently, the revision and expansion of the catalog raisonné of drawings by the artist is in preparation.
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