Born July 8, 1867, Käthe Kollwitz was the fifth child of Carl Schmidt and Katharina Schmidt from Königsberg (known today as Kaliningrad). Her father recognized her talent for drawing and showed great support for her artistic development by sending her to a private arts academy. This was unheard of in the mid-19th century, as women were not admitted at state-run academies of that caliber at that time.
She went on to take private lessons in Berlin and in Munich. Having married her childhood sweetheart, medical doctor Karl Kollwitz, the pair moved to Berlin where they lived in an apartment that also served as Karl’s surgery. This is where Käthe got to witness the state of squalor that many impoverished people in Berlin were living in at the time, observing the clientele that would come to her husband’s practice. She went on to chronicle their hardships in her art.
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