Paula Modersohn-Becker (8 February 1876 – 30 November 1907)) was a German painter and one of the most important representatives of early expressionism. Her brief career was cut short when she died from postpartum embolism at the age of 31. She is recognized as the first female painter to paint nude self-portraits and is now recognized as an important member of the artistic movements in the early part of the twentieth century
Several paintings of Paula Modersohn-Becker had been investigated and the results show that she employed the same technique over her tragically short career. She used tempera and oil with a limited range of pigments such as zinc white, cadmium yellow, viridian and ultramarine.
Modersohn-Becker was also extremely prolific, producing more than 700 paintings in her short lifetime. Many of her paintings depicted women, and often women in the nude – a groundbreaking decision for a woman of her time. After marriage, she did not settle into domesticity and in 1906, left her husband and moved to Paris. That proved to be her most productive year. She painted more than 80 paintings that year.
Her husband eventually joined her in Paris, and she became pregnant shortly thereafter. She would never live to know her child, or to see her paintings become celebrated: She died 18 days after giving birth, at the age of 31.
New Yorker. Modern Art’s Missing Piece:
The first woman to paint a nude self portrait: