Modersohn-Becker, Paula (1876–1907) By Borgmann, Verena
Paula Modersohn-Becker was born in Dresden and moved to Bremen with her family in 1888. After finishing her studies at a teacher training college, she enrolled in an academy of drawing and painting for women in Berlin. In 1898 she moved to the artists’ colony Worpswede, a village north of Bremen, to continue her education under the painter Fritz Mackensen. There she met Heinrich Vogeler, Clara Westhoff, Rainer Maria Rilke and Otto Modersohn. She married Modersohn in 1901. She traveled to Paris for the first time in 1900. Three subsequent stays in this cultural metropolis led her to develop a new, distinctive and monumental style of painting. Her work was particularly influenced by Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, and the Nabis. However, Modersohn-Becker was also fascinated by antiquity, especially Egyptian mummy portraits and the works of the Old Masters she saw in the Louvre. Following her last stay in Paris from February 1906 to March 1907, she returned to Worpswede where she gave birth to her only child, Mathilde, in November 1907, and subsequently died of an embolism two weeks later.