Happy Birthday, Paula Modersohn-Becker


Paula Modersohn-Becker [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Rainer Maria Rilke –  Painting by Paula Modersohn-Becker 

“I think the time is coming for struggle and uncertainty. It comes into every serious and beautiful life. I knew all along that it had to come.”

Paula Modersohn-Becker (February 8, 1876 – November 21, 1907)

Paula Modersohn-Becker was a rare combination of artist and writer. A diarist and prodigious letter-writing, she offered us a glimpse of what it was like to live in her time, to hear her voice and listen to the stories behind her artwork.     At the time of her death at the early age of 31, shortly after the birth of her daughter Mathilde (Tillie), very few people knew about her remarkable contribution to early expressionism. Indeed, if it were not for her writings, she would have disappeared into the folds of history.

Paula Modersohn-Becker is a reminder to keep on writing, to fulfill whatever creative endeavours are within us.   She lived a beautiful life, embracing the struggle and uncertainty that comes with being alive.

“In art one is usually totally alone with oneself.”

Paula Modersohn-Becker

21 Replies to “Happy Birthday, Paula Modersohn-Becker”

  1. Hello Rebecca! Thanks for another inspiring post. I didn’t know about Paula until now so thanks for sharing! Also, do you speak German? :-O

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post! I just learned about Paula myself. I do not know German but I am learning how to use the translator. Thank you for stopping by and commenting. Very much appreciated.😀😀😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. hahah this cracked me up! I use the translator all the time for the German blogs I like to read 😛

        Liked by 1 person

  2. What an interesting post and I too, had never heard of her. So sad she left this world so young as many young women did shortly after giving life to another. I have seen this painting but never knew who painted it. Thank you for your interesting posts as well as so many interesting and interested commentators! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your comments. It would have been interesting to see how her creative energy would have unfolded in later years. We owe a debt of gratitude to our artists, poets, writers, musicians – they give voice to our deepest hopes and challenge us to engage and be open to new ideas and to our personal creative talents. Have a wonderful day – you have made mine extra special.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. If you should plan a visit to the North of Germany, make sure to pay the artist’s colony Worpswede, just south of Bremen, a visit, Rebecca. I’m sure you’ll love it! 🙂
    In 1898 Becker went on a journey to Scandinavia. On her return, she settled at Worpswede. In 1900 she made her first trip to Paris, where she stayed for six months to train at the Academie Colarossi, sharing a studio with Clara Westhoff, who later married Rainer Maria Rilke. She met other artists in Paris – including the German Expressionist Emil Nolde (1867-1956) – studied the Old Masters at the Louvre, and encountered paintings by Cezanne and Gauguin, which impressed her enormously. On returning to Worpswede she became engaged to Otto Modersohn, becoming Paula Modersohn-Becker on their marriage the following year and when you walk the streets of Worpswede today, you can sense her presence. 🙂


    1. I would love to walk the streets of Worpswede and feel her presence. What came through clearly to me as I was reading her story was the strength of her creative community. Her friends were a source of inspiration and encouragement. I can only imagine their amazing discussions. It is a reminder to me that true friendships are invaluable; friends are the catalysts in our lives, strengthening our resolve, giving us courage to act, and honouring us with genuine feedback. I just found Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem “Requiem for a Friend” for Paula Modersohn-Berker. I got goosebumps when I read it…

      “I have dead ones, and I have let them go,
      and was astonished to see them so peaceful,
      so quickly at home in being dead, so just,
      so other than their reputation. Only you, you turn
      back: you brush against me, and go by…”


  4. Another great artist, writer, explorer, brave woman taken before her time. But, what great achievements in such a short life. Tragedy, I think she had a premonition. Embolism, I believe–it was, so sudden!. I had never met her, but I knew she was German by her name. We had a German minister whose name was Becker. Paula–Another woman who paved the way in a world of male dominated society. I already love her!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do too!! Life is unpredictable; death comes too soon for many. What she accomplished during her lifetime was truly remarkable. She used her days well; she was a gift to our world.


    1. I just found out about her recently, myself. It was when I was reading about artists who came to Paris to study. She followed a friend, Clara Westhoff, traveling from her home time of Bremen to Paris where she studied at the Academie Colarossi in the Latin Quarter. Can you imagine how exciting that was for her. She was the first female painter to paint female nudes. I continue to learn…

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Danke, lieber Freund für Ihre schönen Kommentare. Ich bin dankbar, dass ich diese bemerkenswerte Künstler lesen. Ihr Leben war ein Geschenk an diese Welt. Ich wurde von ihr Mut inspiriert die Rolle eines Künstlers zu wählen. Haben Sie einen schönen Tag!


    1. Thank you again, for adding depth to my posts. What I find unique about Paula (after reading about her, I find that she has become a “real” person to me and I think of her by her first name) is that she faced the same issues we face today: career aspirations vs marriage and childbearing. She fulfilled a desire to create and had the courage to enter a male-dominated vocation. I am truly grateful that, in the midst of her busy daily routines, she chose to write prolifically. Not only did she write her story, she added to the creative discourse of human history.

      She would have made an excellent blogger. Have a wonderful day – you added joy to mine.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree wholeheartedly. I read that in her last moments, she called for her infant to be placed in her arms and said, “What a pity…”


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