Paula Modersohn-Becker

29 Apr 2016 – 28 May 2016

Galerie Michael Haas

Berlin, Germany


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“I know I shall not live very long. But is this sad? Is a festival more beautiful because it lasts longer? …And my life is a festi­val, a short, intense festival.”


Due to her premature death, Paula Modersohn-Becker (*1876-1907) had less than ten years of intensive artistic production. The painter captured the characteristic heath and moorland landscape and the peasants of Worpswede free from folklore or sentimental­ity. She was more direct in her paintings than her initial role models who founded the artist colony in 1889 and who enticed her with their art nouveau and impressionistic plein air paintings. In 1898, at the age of 22, she moved to the village after her two-year degree at the Berlin Society of Women Artists, became a student of Fritz Mackensen and married Otto Modersohn in 1901.

In order to progress in her studies, she resided in 1900 for half a year in the pulsating art metropolis Paris; three further visits followed. In Paris, she occupied herself with the current artistic trends, studied works by Cézanne, van Gogh, Gaugin, Rodin, Maillol and Picasso. 

In the rural seclusion, she developed a thematically and formally unique visual language influenced by her Parisian impressions and yet astonishing independent, which completely relinquished the still widespread artistic canon of the 19th century. Reducing the multifarious world to elementary sculptural forms was a central artistic task for her. She was particularly interested in people, whose psyche she tirelessly explored in her art. This is also the focus of the exhibition. Her models are representative, in order to penetrate to a deeper core, in order to depict something universal and human.

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Paula Modersohn-Becker


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