Paula Modersohn-Becker was a German painter and one of the most important representatives of early expressionism.
In a brief career, cut short by postpartum embolism at the age of 31, she created a number of groundbreaking images of great intensity. She is becoming recognized as the first female painter to paint nude self-portraits.
Google Celebrates Paula Modersohn-Becker’s 142nd Birthday with doodle on Feb 07, 2018.
Using bold forays into subject matter and chromatic color choices, she and fellow-artists Picasso and Matisse introduced the world to modernism at the start of the twentieth century.
Paula Becker was born and grew up in Dresden-Friedrichstadt. She was the third child of seven children in her family.
Her father Carl Woldemar Becker (January 31, 1841 Odessa – November 30, 1901, Bremen), the son of a Russian university professor for French lessons, was employed as an engineer with the German railway.
Her mother, Mathilde (November 3, 1852 Lübeck – January 22, 1926 Bremen) was from an aristocratic family ″von Bültzingslöwen″, and her parents provided their children a cultured and intellectual household environment.
Becker’s friend Clara Westhoff left Bremen in early 1899 to study in Paris. By December of that year, Becker followed her there, and in 1900 she studied at the Académie Colarossi in the Latin Quarter.
In April 1900 the great Centennial Exhibition was held in Paris. On this occasion Fritz Overbeck and his wife, along with Otto Modersohn, arrived in June. Modersohn’s ailing wife Helen had been left in Worpswede and died during his trip to Paris. With this news Modersohn and the Overbecks rushed back to Germany.
Several paintings of Paula Modersohn-Becker had been investigated and the results show that she employed the same technique over her whole (short) career as a painter. Tempera was her medium of choice and she painted with a limited choice of pigments such as zinc white, cadmium yellow, viridian and artificial ultramarine.
By 1899 Clara Westhoff had made a bust of her friend Paula Becker, saying that it was a symbol of their friendship and shared passion for art.
In 1908 Rainer Maria Rilke wrote the renowned poem “Requiem for a Friend” in memory of Paula Modersohn-Becker.
In 1988 a stamp with the portrait of Paula Modersohn-Becker was issued in the series Women in German history by the German post-office authority Deutsche Bundespost.
Modersohn-Becker’s in Bremen, where she spent much of her life, opened in October 2007 as a private art museum and gallery.
Apart from her teacher’s training in Bremen in 1893-1895, Paula took private instruction in painting. It was not well known that the young Paula Becker had lived here for ten years; in 2003 Heinz and Betty Thies bought the then run-down house, and had it restored in time for the 100th anniversary of the artist’s death. At that time (November 2007) it was turned into a public museum.
Paula Modersohn-Becker Quotes
- I think the time is coming for struggle and uncertainty. It comes into every serious and beautiful life. I knew all along that it had to come.
- In art one is usually totally alone with oneself.
- I know I shall not live very long… If I’ve painted three good pictures, then I shall leave gladly with flowers in my hand and my hair.
- How happy I would be if I could give figurative expression to the unconscious feeling that often murmurs so softly and sweetly within me.
- I want to give colors intoxication, fullness, excitement, power by trying to forget Impressionism.
- Nature is supposed to become greater to me than people. It ought to speak louder from me. I should feel small in the face of nature’s enormity.
- Lack of money rivets us firmly to the ground, one’s wings are clipped.