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Paula Moderzon-Becker

Paula Moderzon-Becker was an outstanding German painter, representative of modernism, a pioneer of expressionism and the first artist in the world to which the museum in Bremen was dedicated.


Paula Moderzon-Becker was born on February 8, 1876, in Dresden. Paula grew up in the family of engineer Voldemar Becker.

Up to 12 years, Paula lived in a suburb of Dresden. The family moved to Bremen in 1888. Paula’s mother introduced her daughter to the artists there. She worked in her own workshop.

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Parents who encouraged the aspiration of their daughter sent her to England in 1892. In addition to painting, the young artist studied English.

On the advice of her father, in 1893, she entered the courses of teachers. Therefore, she was allowed to take private lessons in painting in the workshop of Bernhard Wiegandt. Paula began to paint portraits of her relatives and friends.

Since women did not have the right to study at the Academy of Fine Arts, in 1896 Paula moved to Berlin and studied for six months at an art school under the Union of Berlin Artists.

In order to receive painting lessons, it was necessary to have good skills in drawings. Paula worked hard before in 1897 she got permission to paint with the artist Jeanne Brown.

In 1900 she visited Paris. She attended Paris Academy of Colarossa on the drawing of a nude.

May 25, 1901, Paula Becker married Otto Moderzon. In 1903, Paula returned to Worpsved. But soon again she went to Paris. She offered her husband to go with her, but Moderzon denied French art.

On her return to Worpsved, Paula studies the work of Paul Gauguin. And very soon she left for Paris again. In February 1906 Paula Moderzon-Becker left her husband.

In Paris, Paula had her own small workshop. In September 1906, Otto Moderson came to Paris to support Paulo. A year later they return to Worpsved. Paula was expecting a child, and it bore her. She could not paint pictures as often as before. Paula Moderzon-Becker gave birth to a daughter. Childbirth went through with complications. She died on 20 November 1907, when she was 31 years old.

Key Ideas in Painting

While living in Worpsved, her favorite theme was the melancholy-severe charm of swampy and meadow landscapes in the north of Germany.

In 1903, when she went to Paris, she was interested in Japanese color wood engraving, painting still lives with simple geometric forms and images of people. She refused to accurately reproduce the details of objects and figures.

Acquaintance with the paintings of Pablo Picasso simplified the bodily forms in her works.

The desire to have her own child was reflected in her artwork as well. Paula writes portraits of babies.

Famous paintings made by Paula Modersohn-Becker

Among famous Paula’s artworks are Girl with Child, Portrait of Rainer Maria Rilke, Peasant Child with Pink Apron, Infant with her ​​mother’s hand, Still Life with Pumpkin and other.

Elizabeth with Hens under an Apple Tree

Painted in 1902 this work is now in the private collection. We can see here that the girl is not clear, as the painter didn’t want to show the details of objects accurately.

READ:  Gustave Courbet






Landscape with Birch trunks

This expressionistic landscape dates back to 1901 when Paula was in Worpsved.









Male nude standing

Nude painting made with coal in 1899. At that period Paula had a series of nude paintings and in 1900 she Paris Academy of Colarossa.

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Paula Moderzon-Becker. (2018, Sep 06). Retrieved from https://artscolumbia.org/artists/paula-moderzon-becker-57937/

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