Käthe Kollwitz (July 8, 1867 – April 22, 1945) was a German painter, printmaker, and sculptor whose work explores the human condition, and the tragedy of war. Her empathy for the less fortunate, expressed through the graphic means of drawing, etching, lithography, and woodcut, embraced the victims of poverty, hunger, and war. Kollwitz's father arranged for her to begin lessons in drawing and copying plaster casts when she was twelve. At sixteen she began making drawings of working people, the sailors and peasants she saw in her father's offices. Wishing to continue her studies at a time when no colleges or academies were open to young women, Kollwitz enrolled in an art school for women in Berlin. There she studied with Karl Stauffer-Bern, a friend of the artist Max Klinger. In 1920 Kollwitz was elected a member of the Prussian Academy of Arts, the first woman to be so honored.
Kollwitz was a committed socialist and pacifist, who was eventually attracted to communism. In the years after World War I, her reaction to the war found a continuous outlet. In 1922–23 she produced the cycle War in woodcut form, and in 1924 she finished her three most famous posters: Germany's Children Starving, Bread, and Never Again War. In 1933, after the establishment of the National-Socialist regime, the Nazi Party authorities forced her to resign as a faculty member of the Akademie der Künste, and her work was removed from museums. In the mid-1930s she completed her last major cycle of lithographs, Death. In July 1936, she and her husband were visited by the Gestapo, who threatened her with arrest and deportation to a Nazi concentration camp; however, Kollwitz was by now renown internationally, and no further action was taken. She outlived her husband who died in 1940 and her grandson Peter, who died in action in World War II two years later. She was evacuated from Berlin in 1943, her house was bombed and many drawings, prints, and documents were lost. She lived her final months as a guest of Prince Ernst Heinrich of Saxony where she died just before the end of the war. http://www.rogallery.com/Kollwitz/Kollwitz-bio.htm