Distinguished Women of Past and Present

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Paula Modersohn-Becker


Paula Modersohn-Becker was born in 1876 in Dresden, Germany, but her family later moved to Bremen. She took art lessons in Bremen and then in London. Later, she completed a teachers' training program to alleviate her parents' concern about her future livelihood. Having satisfied her parents, she went to Berlin to continue her art studies. In 1898, she settled in an artists' colony at Worpswede and, three years later, married Otto Modersohn, one of the resident artists. They had a daughter together, but Modersohn-Becker died three weeks after giving birth to her. She was thirty-one years old. By that time, she had produced more than four hundred paintings as well as many etchings and drawings. She was best known for her touching paintings of elderly peasant women and self-portraits. She also painted intriguing landscapes and still lifes.

Contributed by Danuta Bois, 1997.

Women Artists: An Illustrated History, by Nancy G. Heller, Abbeville Press, 1991