Paula Modersohn Becker had
a short lived career. She
died at the age of 31 from a
post pardum embelism. A tragic
event under any circumstances
and I think a loss for the
art world and women painters
Becker is known in part for her
nude self-portraits that had
a more earthly, nurturing
quality to them and a frankness
that differed from the more
eroticized portrayals of
women in Renaissance Art.
Without much information about
her life I quickly identified
the influence of Gaughin here.
There's a lovely innocence and
natural quality to her paintings
that I also resonate with in
Gaughin's portrayals of Tahitian
"Self Portrait with Amber Necklace"1906
Becker studied at the Berlin
School of Art for Women then
moved to Worpswede an artists
community co-founded by
Otto Modersohn a landscape
painter whom she later married.
Becker left the art scene in
Worpswede after a harsh review
in an exhibition and decided to
meet sculptor and friend
Clara Westoff in Paris where
she took up studies
at the Academie Colarossi.
Women painters had rarely used
nude females as subjects at the
time Becker began this part of her
practice. Artemesia Gentileschi
did three centuries before also
using her own body as
the reference like Becker.
"Reclining Mother and Child"
Although Becker was trained in realism
and naturalism she swayed from that
training and became influenced
by the work of Cezanne, Van Gogh
and Gaughin while in Paris. She is
recognized today as one the most
famous female artists of the 20th
Century and in her short career
produced inspiring and masterful
paintings worthy of recognition.