February 8, 2018
Paula Modersohn-Becker’s 142nd Birthday
Renowned German expressionist painter Paula Modersohn-Becker was born on this day in 1876. Her art bears witness to her courage, boldness, and ambition — a temperament that greatly influenced her short but prolific career.
Exposed to the intellectual world from the time she was a young child growing up in Dresden-Friedrichstadt, Modersohn-Becker began her artistic endeavors as a student in Bremen, and at the age of 18, moved to an artist’s colony in Worpswede. There she met her future husband, but hungry to learn more, she moved to Paris to study and urged him to join her.
In the years that followed, her personal life underwent many changes. But through all the turbulence, she continued to paint, producing more than 80 pictures in 1906 alone. Her writings explain this frenetic pace as a necessity to make up for the first two ‘lost’ decades of her life.
An early expressionist, she joined the likes of Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse in introducing modernism to the world. Modersohn-Becker was known for her bold choices as an artist — be it her depictions of nude female figures (among the very first women artists to do so), or those of women breastfeeding their children. She tenaciously resisted the strict expectations held of women of her era, preferring exploration and painting over more traditional pastimes.
Today’s Doodle reflects her artistic style depicting domestic subjects, and is illustrated by Berlin-based duo Golden Cosmos.
Happy Birthday, Paula Modersohn-Becker!
Discover more about the life and career of Paula Modersohn-Becker by visiting Google Arts & Culture.
Early drafts of the Doodle below: