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- Alfred Flechtheim
Art dealer of the Avantgarde

Paula Modersohn-Becker

08.02.1876 Dresden - 20.11.1907 Worpswede
Alfred Flechtheim and Paula Modersohn-Becker

Having grown up in a cosmopolitan, artistic family, Paula Becker soon became integrated in the art scene after moving to Bremen in 1888. As a woman, she was prevented from studying at an art academy. The first lessons she received were at a private art school during a stay in London in 1892, at the seminary for female teachers in Bremen from 1893–95 and from 1896–98 in Berlin. Her contact to the Worpswede artists’ colony from 1897 onwards was to have a strong influence. One year later she joined the community herself. She became friends with Rainer Maria Rilke and his wife Clara Westhoff. In 1900 the artist moved to Paris to study modern French painting where she lived permanently for the next few years with a few interruptions. In 1901 she married Otto Modersohn. Sie died as a result of the birth of her first daughter.

Modersohn-Becker adopted a reduced, two-dimensional painterly style in her figurative depictions of farm life, in her portaits and mother-and-child pictures, in which the structure formed an essential component of the composition with motifs cropped by the picture frame. The artist also had a close affinity to the plain monumentality of Antique sculpture, the powerful expression of images of Ancient Egyptian mummies and the formal ideology of Renaissance art. As her work was only seldom exhibited during her lifetime the posthumous publication of the first catalogue raisonné and writings greatly contributed to the reception and recognition of her œuvre. At the same time a considerable number of exhibitions of works from her estate added to this increased interest. Otto Modersohn sent works to be sold on commission to renowned gallery owners such as Alfred Flechtheim who had increasingly focussed on the presentation of German Modernism since the mid 1920s.

Due to their supposedly strong realism, her figurative pictures were defamed as expressionist and ‘degenerate’ although Modersohn-Becker herself had no contact with the German Expressionists. Advocates countered this hostility, underlying the Nordic-Germanic elements of her art. Comparatively few works by Modersohn-Becker were in the sights of the National Socialists’ purging policies and confiscated from public institutions. Her legacy remained largely untouched in the private collections of Herbert von Garvens, Eduard von der Heydt, Heinrich Vogeler, Rilke and Ludwig Roselius who set up a museum for the artist in 1927.

Individual exhibitons at the Galerie Flechtheim

Group exhibitions at the Galerie Flechtheim

Dezember 1928

Paula Modersohn-Becker 1876-1907, Hermann Haller geb. 1880
Düsseldorf, Königsallee 34

Juli–August 1919

Auf dem Wege zur Kunst unserer Zeit. Vorkriegsbilder und Bildwerke
Düsseldorf, Königsallee 34

Juli–September 1920

Sommer 1920. Ostasiatische Gemälde. Künstler vom Niederrhein, aus Westfalen und Frankreich
Düsseldorf, Königsallee 34

Dezember 1921 – Januar 1922

Berliner Ausstellungen 1921. Dritte Ausstellung. Paula Modersohn-Becker 1876-1907, Oskar Moll
Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt am Main, (Lützowufer, Königsallee, Gärtnerweg 63)

September–Oktober 1928

Lebende ausländische Kunst. Aus rheinischem Privatbesitz
Düsseldorf, Königsallee 34

November–Dezember 1930

Seit Liebermann in Deutschland. Aquarelle, Zeichnungen, Graphik
Düsseldorf, Königsallee 34