Paula Modersohn-Becker by Diane Radycki
The First Modern Woman Artist

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Considered one of the most important of the early German modernists, the painter Paula Modersohn-Becker (1876–1907) challenged traditional representations of the female body in art. She was the first modern woman artist to paint herself nude, as well as mothers and children nude. She also created the first self-portrait while pregnant in the history of art. Modersohn-Becker painted the life she was living as a woman and artist and led the way for generations of women artists. Tragically, her life and career were cut short at age thirty-one, following complications from childbirth.

Diane Radycki examines the artist’s fascinating biography, highlighting her friendships with poet Rainer Maria Rilke and sculptor Clara Rilke-Westhoff as well as her personal anguish, including years in an unconsummated marriage, a disappointing affair, and irresolution about motherhood. Radycki also details the genres of Modersohn-Becker’s work: figure (especially nudes), still life, and landscape; and the reception of her work following her death. This new book is an authoritative source on Modersohn-Becker, who Radycki convincingly portrays as the first significant woman artist in the history of modernism.


About Diane Radycki

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Diane Radycki is associate professor of art history at Moravian College, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She served as editor and translator of The Letters and Journals of Paula Modersohn-Becker.
Published April 30, 2013 by Yale University Press. 256 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Arts & Photography.

Unrated Critic Reviews for Paula Modersohn-Becker

This new volume on the early German expressionist painter Paula Modersohn-Becker (1876–1907) features a fine, detailed biography, many full-color illustrations, analysis of her work, and an exacting exhibition history (with a focus on Hitler's infamous 1937 Degenerate Art show in which Modersohn-...

Jun 01 2013 | Read Full Review of Paula Modersohn-Becker: The F...

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