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Paula Modersohn-Becker

German, 1876–1907

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Paula Modersohn-Becker

German, 1876–1907

512
Followers
Biography

A pioneer of modern art in Europe and the first woman to paint a full-length nude self-portrait, Paula Modersohn-Becker favored simple forms and complex textures created by scratching into sculpted paint on canvas. Modersohn-Becker trained under Fritz Mackensen in the Worpswede artists’ colony, alongside artists such as Heinrich Vogeler and novelist Rainer Maria Rilke. Her unique visual language—a synthesis of post-impressionist styles balancing French formalism with a German aesthetic—is marked by humanistic representations of local villagers. Drawn to the vibrant Parisian art culture, Modersohn-Becker was influenced by artists like Paul Cézanne and Paul Gauguin, as well as by classical painting. Modersohn-Becker’s nude self-portrait, painted just prior to her death, had no precedent—male or female—and celebrated the female body in a straightforward, unembellished manner.

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Career Highlights
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User
Solo show at a major institution
Louisiana Museum of Art
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 3 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 1 more
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum, and 1 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
documenta
Biography

A pioneer of modern art in Europe and the first woman to paint a full-length nude self-portrait, Paula Modersohn-Becker favored simple forms and complex textures created by scratching into sculpted paint on canvas. Modersohn-Becker trained under Fritz Mackensen in the Worpswede artists’ colony, alongside artists such as Heinrich Vogeler and novelist Rainer Maria Rilke. Her unique visual language—a synthesis of post-impressionist styles balancing French formalism with a German aesthetic—is marked by humanistic representations of local villagers. Drawn to the vibrant Parisian art culture, Modersohn-Becker was influenced by artists like Paul Cézanne and Paul Gauguin, as well as by classical painting. Modersohn-Becker’s nude self-portrait, painted just prior to her death, had no precedent—male or female—and celebrated the female body in a straightforward, unembellished manner.

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
User
Solo show at a major institution
Louisiana Museum of Art
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 3 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 1 more
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum, and 1 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
documenta