Paula Modersohn-Becker is today hailed as one of the great pioneers of modernism. When she died in 1907 at the age of just 31, she had completed more than 700 paintings and 1,000 drawings and prints. Despite selling only a few paintings during her lifetime, her distinct style, daring subject matter and perseverance in overcoming barriers to women left a significant artistic mark on the brief epoch between the old and the new, and paved the way for the German avant-garde.
Uwe M. Schneede, one of the foremost experts on Modersohn-Becker’s work, shows how the artist translated her life’s experiences into her own, very distinctive, pictorial language. He focuses in particular on her time in Paris, where she absorbed the luminous palette and expressive brushwork of the French avant-garde, and which so strongly impacted her ambitions and artistic trajectory. Schneede’s lively narrative is supported by some 120 illustrations, and peppered throughout with quotations from Modersohn’s letters and diaries.