Paula Modersohn-Becker was born on the 8 of February
Self-portrait - 1906 - tempera on cardboard.
Paula Modersohn-Becker, (1876-1907) was born in Dresden. A German painter, she is one of the earliest representatives of the expressionist movement in her country.
Paula engages in painting studies and joins independent artists gathered in the village of Worpswede, not far from Bremen. These advocate a return to nature and the simple values of the peasantry. She marries Otto Modersohn, also a painter, attached to the colony in which the couple evolves.
Soon, the lack of audacity of the worpswedians painters will push Paula to open herself to external inspirations and to make repeated stays in Paris, where is situated the artistic avant-garde.
Paris allows her to confront the paintings of Gauguin, Cézanne and Picasso, artists who will have a great influence on his work. Paris is also the city where she can have a small workshop of her own, where she will be carried by a momentum that corresponds to her imagination.
At the private Academy of Colarossi, young Paula detonates. The other students mock her. But it will not affect her ardor at work. On the contrary, she perseveres and asserts herself. The marginal artist, by her style, actually opens the way to German Expressionism. Her particularly original style, is the result of multiple influences, on the edge of tradition and modernity.
Her painting presents aspects of Cézanne's impressionism, Van Gogh's and Gauguin post-Impressionism, Picasso's Cubism, Matisse Fauvism, Japanese art and even German Renaissance art. Paris, a melting pot of artistic modernity, allows her to draw on very strong sources of inspiration.
During the fourteen short years during which she practiced her art, Paula made no less than seven hundred and fifty canvases, thirteen prints and about a thousand drawings.
Paula died prematurely at the age of 31, on November 21, 1907, as a result of childbirth.
Paula, Picasso, and Matisse introduced the world to modernism. One wonders how far she would have revolutionized modern art if she had lived longer, given the revolutionary work she has accomplished in such a short time.
Until the exhibition devoted to it by the Museum of Modern Art of the city of Paris in 2016, she remained relatively unknown outside of German-speaking countries.