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Paula Modersohn-Becker: A Modern Woman


Wednesday, March 18, 2020
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Community Room

Darien Library welcomes back art historian Larissa Bailiff for a talk on German painter Paula Modersohn-Becker (1876-1907). In 2017, the Neue Galerie and the Museum of Modern Art co-purchased a 1907 self-portrait by Paula Modersohn-Becker, explicitly validating this early-20th-century German artist’s importance within the modernist canon. Exactly contemporaneous with Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, this newly-acquired work currently hangs in the gallery next to the Spaniard's magnum opus. A similarly bold and prolific painter, Modersohn-Becker served as an integral bridge between German art and the avant-garde currents in Paris at the beginning of the 20th century, before her untimely death at the age of 31.

In addition to looking closely at Modersohn-Becker’s strikingly modern and unique paintings, our talk will shed light upon the challenges of being a woman artist around 1900. We will meet the painter's coterie, which included the poet Rainer Marie Rilke, and explore her wide range of inspirations - from Paul Gauguin to Egyptian Fayum mummy portraits. And perhaps most controversial - we will consider Modersohn-Becker’s possible influence upon the young Picasso.

About the Presenter

Larissa Bailiff is a specialist in modern French art and social history. Formerly an associate educator at MoMA, she continues to offer tours and courses at the museum. For the last three years, she has also worked for Boulevard Arts, an immersive arts technology company, where she creates cultural content for virtual and mixed reality platforms.

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