Paula Modersohn-Becker, ‘Old Woman’, posthumous printing after 1919 by Felsing, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
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Old Woman, posthumous printing after 1919 by Felsing

Etching and aquatint
11 9/16 × 9 13/16 in
29.4 × 24.9 cm
Permanent collection
About the work
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Washington
plate: 19.1 x 14.8 cm (7 1/2 x 5 13/16 in.)  sheet: 29.4 x 25 cm (11 9/16 x 9 13/16 in.)
Medium
Print
Image rights
Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington
Paula Modersohn-Becker
German, 1876–1907
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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.

Paula Modersohn-Becker, ‘Old Woman’, posthumous printing after 1919 by Felsing, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Save
Save
View
View in room
Share
Share
About the work
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Washington
plate: 19.1 x 14.8 cm (7 1/2 x 5 13/16 in.)  sheet: 29.4 x 25 cm (11 9/16 x 9 13/16 in.)
Medium
Print
Image rights
Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington
Paula Modersohn-Becker
German, 1876–1907
Follow

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.

Old Woman, posthumous printing after 1919 by Felsing

Etching and aquatint
11 9/16 × 9 13/16 in
29.4 × 24.9 cm
Permanent collection
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