The Lovers

Plaster model. Seated figure holds youth in lap.

Over the years there has been much speculation about the subject and title of this sculpture. It has been called The Lovers, Mother and Child, Pietà, and recent research suggests that it may be related to Kollwitz's later lithograph Death Holds a Girl in His Lap. Whatever the title, the depth of the artist's emotions and sense of intimacy-whether pertaining to love or loss-are palpable. Kollwitz was profoundly affected by the death of her son in the first world war, and later by the death of her husband; eros and death are frequently conflated in her works.


On rough block signed at back Kollwitz


1954, Rosen Gallery, Berlin; By 1958, Rosen Gallery sold to Hyman Swetzoff, Swetzoff Gallery, Boston [see note 1]. 1958, gift of Hyman Swetzoff to the MFA. (Accession Date: April 10, 1958)


[1] Letter from Gerd Rosen to Hans Kollwitz (son of Kathe Kollwitz), Nov. 15, 1954, and letter of Hans Kollwitz to MFA.

Credit Line

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Hyman W. Swetzoff in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Solomon Swetzoff


© 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn.

The Lovers

74.29 x 45.72 x 48.26 cm (29 1/4 x 18 x 19 in.)
Medium or Technique
Accession Number
On view
Charlotte F. and Irving W. Rabb Gallery (Europe, 1900–1960 / Modernism) - 155