Saturday 17 November 2018

Review of Paula Becker and Otto Modersohn: Art and Life at the Paula Modersohn-Becker Museum, Bremen

Paula Becker and Otto Modersohn: Art and Life
Paula Modersohn-Becker Museum, Bremen
25 August 2018 – 6 January 2019

As I fall asleep in my narrow, creaking bed, with my close friend and travelling companion in the one beside me, I imagine the myriad conversations that took place in this room more than a century ago – between the artist Paula Modersohn-Becker (1876-1907), whose atelier this was, and her close girlfriend, the sculptor Clara Rilke-Westhoff (1878-1954), as well as with her husband and fellow painter, Otto Modersohn (1865-1943), and Clara’s husband, the poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926). What art critical and philosophical discourses might I have been party to, had I been a fly on the wall all those years previously? Outside the atelier (now a holiday apartment), the village of Worpswede retains the charm that attracted a colony of artists, spearheaded by Fritz Mackensen (1866-1953), to assemble here from 1884, and their varying houses can now be visited as museums and galleries, filled with paintings of the typical cottages with their roofs sloping down to the ground (exemplified by the atelier building itself, although the roof of the studio room was lifted, by Modersohn, to create a well-lit working space for his wife), the surrounding moor, the canal that was built to transport peat excavated from the moor to Bremen (30km to the southwest) on small boats with tar-brown sails, silvery birch trees and endless open skies. 

Read the full review here

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