Kunstmuseum zur deutschen Künstlerin Käthe Kollwitz
History of the museum
Berlin’s history as a divided city and the ideology of the Cold War are both possible reasons for why Berliners had to wait so long for a museum dedicated to Käthe Kollwitz. In East Berlin, the Akademie der Künste (Academy of Arts), the Kupferstichkabinett (Museum of Prints and Drawings), and the Otto Nagel Hous regularly exhibited Käthe Kollwitz’s art. with the express support of the Kollwitz family, West Berliners campaigned for the establishment of a Käthe Kollwitz Museum – in vain. Their wish was only met in the mid-1980s, when two museums dedicated to the artist were estabklished almost simultaneously in Germany, in Berlin and in Cologne. Today, both museums (and the memorial site in Moritzburg, where she died) have permanent exhibitions on Käthe Kollwitz.
The Käthe-Kollwitz-Museum Berlin was opened in Fasanenstraße in West Berlin on 31th May 1986. A citizen’s initiative had stopped the demolition of the building in which the museum is now housed. Built in 1871, it and its neighbouring buildings (jointly know as the Wintergarten Ensemble) were to be razed to make way for a new road. Thanks to support from Deutsche Bank and the City of Berlin, these buildings became the Literaturhaus, the Käthe-Kollwitz-Museum and the Villa Grisebach auction house.
The painter and art dealer Hans Pels-Leusden donated his collection of drawings and prints by Käthe Kollwitz and a part of his assets to the Käthe-Kollwitz-Museum in Berlin. Dr. Gudrun and Martin Fritsch headed the museum until 2013. Special exhibitions and new acquisitions have raised the profile of the privately funded museum.