Modersohn-Becker, Paula

Modersohn-Becker, Paula mō´dərzōn˝-bĕk´ər [key], 1876–1907, German painter. After studying in London and Berlin, she was greatly influenced by her experience at Worpswede, an artists' colony where she lived from 1898 to 1900. There she met Otto Modersohn, whom she married, and the poet Rainer Maria Rilke. She lived only 31 years, but created a remarkable body of early modernist work, more than 700 paintings that are lively with color and roughened surface treatment. Influenced by both old and new art, at first she painted mainly landscapes, but then turned to portraits, nudes (including many of herself), and still lifes. Rilke wrote a biography of Modersohn-Becker; she painted a portrait of Rilke. A museum in Bremen, Germany, is devoted to her work.

See biography by D. Radycki (2013); study by G. Perry (1979).

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