Paula Modersohn-Becker. Self-Portrait with Two Flowers in Her Raised Left Hand. 1907

Paula Modersohn-Becker Self-Portrait with Two Flowers in Her Raised Left Hand 1907

  • Not on view

In this emblematic self-portrait, a pregnant Modersohn–Becker stares out at the viewer with a steady, compelling gaze. One hand is raised, holding two stylized flowers, while the other is positioned over her swelling belly. Modersohn–Becker, a pioneering figure of the 20th–century German avant–garde, is believed to be the first woman to paint herself while pregnant; this painting is one of only a few such portrayals. She gave birth to a daughter on November 2, 1907, and died of complications on November 21, at age 31. The painting's audacious palette, stark composition, and psychological depth reflect Modersohn–Becker's position as a pivotal link between Fauvism and German Expressionism.

Gallery label from MoMA Collection, 2017.
Oil on canvas
21 3/4 × 9 3/4" (55.2 × 24.8 cm)
Jointly owned by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Gift of Debra and Leon Black, and Neue Galerie New York, Gift of Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder
Object number
Painting and Sculpture

This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.

1907, Paula Modersohn-Becker, Worpswede, Germany.
[1907 - before 1917, Estate of Paula Modersohn-Becker, Worpswede, Germany]
1917 - at least 1919, Karl Jakob Hirsch (1892-1952), Worpswede, Paris, and Berlin.
[1919, Graphisches Kabinett J. B. Neumann (Jsrael Ber Neumann, 1887-1961), Berlin]
By 1928 (probably by 1921) - at least July 16, 1941 (possibly until 1950), Hugo Simon (1880-1950), Berlin, Paris, and Brazil, possibly purchased from/through Graphisches Kabinett J. B. Neumann.
[1950 - 1952, Gertrud Simon, Brazil, probably inherited from her husband Hugo Simon]
1952 - 1966, Paul Speck (1896-1966), Zürich, probably acquired through Galerie Ernst Beyeler.
1966 - 1976, Else Speck, Zürich, inherited from her husband Paul Speck.
1976 - 2013, Julia Diethelm, Zürich, inherited from her mother Else Speck.
2013 - 2017, Heirs of Julia Diethelm, Zürich, inherited from Julia Diethelm.
2017, The Museum of Modern Art and The Neue Galerie, New York, jointly purchased from heirs of Julia Diethelm through Kunsthandel Wolfgang Werner, Bremen/Berlin.

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