A pioneering artist who subverted conventions in her depictions of the nude, self-portraits, and still-lives. An iconoclast in her own time, Modersohn-Becker is today considered an icon of modernity.
Throughout her career, Paula Modersohn-Becker boldly experimented with styles while steadfastly pursuing the truth of everyday life and her own female experience. This monograph looks at the entire spectrum of her work—figure drawings, still-lifes, self-portraiture, landscape, nudes, and portraits of young girls and old women—to illustrate the evolution of an artist reacting to seismic cultural change at the turn of the nineteenth century. Whether she was embracing or subverting the principles of realism, naturalism, impressionism, symbolism, or expressionism, Modersohn-Becker remained interested in issues of identity, peeling away outer layers to uncover what she understood as the true essence of life. This book features numerous examples of Modersohn-Becker’s striking and relatively unknown drawings of men, women, and children facing poverty, as well as her highly original figure paintings and nudes—including her unprecedented nude self-portraits. Accompanying the first museum exhibition of Modersohn-Becker’s work in the United States, it reveals the deeply personal and authentic work of an artist who resolutely forged her own path.
Jay A. Clarke is the Rothman Family Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Art Institute of Chicago. Her exhibitions and publications include “Becoming Edvard Munch: Influence, Anxiety, and Myth” (2009); “Picasso/Encounters” (2017) with Marilyn McCully; and she is the editor of Innovation, Tradition, and Nostalgia: The Manton Collection of British Art (2012); The Impressionist Line from Degas to Toulouse-Lautrec (2013); and co-editor of Edvard Munch: Trembling Earth (2023). Clark has written several articles on Käthe Kollwitz, Edvard Munch, and the materials, processes, and markets of prints and drawings around 1900.
Jill Lloyd-Peppiatt is a writer and curator specializing in German and Austrian modernism. She has organized many critically acclaimed exhibitions for the Neue Galerie New York and other leading museums, including, most recently, “Ernst Ludwig Kirchner” (2019) with Janis Staggs; and “Edvard Munch: Trembling Earth” (co-curator for the Clark Art Institute, Museum Barberini, and Munch Museum) with Jay Clarke and Trine Nielsen. She has published widely on German art, including her book German Expressionism: Primitivism and Modernity, which was awarded the National Art Book Prize.