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Paula Modersohn-Becker

  • It is my experience that marriage does not make one happier. It destroys the illusion that has been the essence of one's previous existence, that there existed something like a soul-mate. The feeling of not being understood is heightened in marriage by the fact that one's entire life beforehand had the aim of finding a being who would understand one. But isn't it better to exist without such an illusion and look this great lonely truth straight in the eye?

    • Paula Modersohn-Becker,
    • 1902, in Gillian Perry, Paula Modersohn-Becker: Her Life and Work ()
  • In art one is usually totally alone with oneself.

    • Paula Modersohn-Becker,
    • 1906, in Gillian Perry, Paula Modersohn-Becker: Her Life and Work ()
  • My whole week has consisted of nothing but work and inspiration. I work with such passion that it shuts out everything else.

    • Paula Modersohn-Becker,
    • 1897, in Gillian Perry, Paula Modersohn-Becker: Her Life and Work ()
  • I am becoming something — I am living the most intensely happy time of my life.

    • Paula Modersohn-Becker,
    • 1906, in Gillian Perry, Paula Modersohn-Becker: Her Life and Work ()
  • Up till now the works of antiquity were foreign to me. I could already find them beautiful, and beautiful in themselves: but I could find no link between them and modern art. And now I have found it, and that I believe is progress. I feel there is an inner relationship from the works of the ancients through to the gothic, especially the early antique, and from the gothic to my sense of form. Great simplicity of form, that is something wonderful.

    • Paula Modersohn-Becker,
    • 1903, in Gillian Perry, Paula Modersohn-Becker: Her Life and Work ()
  • Lack of money rivets us firmly to the ground, one's wings are clipped.

    • Paula Modersohn-Becker,
    • 1903, in Gillian Perry, Paula Modersohn-Becker: Her Life and Work ()
  • I believe that one should not think too much about nature when painting, at least not during the painting's conception. The colour sketch should be made exactly as one has perceived things in nature. But personal feeling is the main thing.

    • Paula Modersohn-Becker,
    • 1902, in Gillian Perry, Paula Modersohn-Becker: Her Life and Work ()
  • I was lying under the alder tree. My soul was completely under its spell. I looked up into its leaves. The sun dyed them a shining yellow. And thus they stood on their delicate red stems and laughed into the sky.

    • Paula Modersohn-Becker,
    • 1902, in Gillian Perry, Paula Modersohn-Becker: Her Life and Work ()
  • This indescribably sweet web of moonlight and delicate snowy ether surrounded me. Nature was talking to me and I listened, trembling with bliss.

    • Paula Modersohn-Becker,
    • 1902, in Gillian Perry, Paula Modersohn-Becker: Her Life and Work ()
  • I know I shall not live very long. But why is that so sad? Is a festival more beautiful because it lasts longer? My sensuous perceptions grow sharper, as if I were supposed to take in everything with the few years that will be offered to me ... And now love will still blossom for me before I depart, and if I've painted three good pictures, then I shall leave gladly with flowers in my hand and my hair.

    • Paula Modersohn-Becker,
    • 1900, in Gillian Perry, Paula Modersohn-Becker: Her Life and Work ()
  • ... I love color. It must submit to me. And I love art. I kneel before it, and it must become mine. Everything around me glows with passion. Every day reveals a new red flower, glowing, scarlet red. Everyone around me carries them. Some wear them quietly hidden in their hearts. And they are like poppies just opening, of which one can see only here and there a hint of red petal peeking out from the green bud.

    • Paula Modersohn-Becker,
    • in Günter Busch and Liselotte von Reinken, eds., Paula Modersohn: The Letters and Journals ()
  • The Louvre! The Louvre has me in its clutches. Every time I'm there rich blessings rain down upon me. I am coming to understand Titian more and more and learning to love him. And then there is Botticelli's sweet Madonna, with red roses behind her, standing against a blue-green sky. And Fiesole with his poignant little biblical stories, so simply told, often so glorious in their colors.

    • Paula Modersohn-Becker,
    • in Günter Busch and Liselotte von Reinken, eds., Paula Modersohn: The Letters and Journals ()
  • If I could really paint! A month ago I was so sure of what I wanted. Inside me I saw it out there, walked around with it like a queen, and was blissful. Now the veils have fallen again, gray veils, hiding the whole idea from me. I stand like a beggar at the door, shivering in the cold, pleading to be let in. It is hard to move patiently, step by step, when one is young and demanding. ... I walk along the boulevards and crowds of people pass by and something inside me cries out, 'I still have such beautiful things before me. None of you, not one, has such things.' And then it cries, 'When will it come. Soon?' And then up speaks art, insisting on two more serious, undivided years of work. Life is serious, and full, and beautiful.

    • Paula Modersohn-Becker,
    • in Günter Busch and Liselotte von Reinken, eds., Paula Modersohn: The Letters and Journals ()

Paula Modersohn-Becker, Germain painter

(1876 - 1907)