Paula Modersohn-Becker: Ich bin Ich / I am Me

Paula Modersohn-Becker: Ich bin Ich / I am Me

June 6, 2024
- September 9, 2024

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Paula Modersohn-Becker (1876-1907) is a major figure in the history of German Expressionism, yet despite her importance to art history, Modersohn-Becker’s work has never before been the subject of a museum retrospective in the United States. While her paintings and drawings have appeared in group shows at museums and galleries, and there is even a Paula Modersohn-Becker Museum in her hometown of Bremen, “Paula Modersohn-Becker: Ich bin Ich / I Am Me” organized by Neue Galerie New York and the Art Institute of Chicago marks the first full-scale presentation devoted to the artist in this country.

In the course of her brief career – which was cut short at the young age of 31 because of a postpartum embolism – Modersohn-Becker produced more than 700 paintings and over 1,000 drawings. She is acclaimed for the many self-portraits she created, including the first nude self-portraits known to have been made by a woman. Many of these works focused on her pregnancy, another first among Western women artists. The artist first became known in part through her letters and diaries, including correspondence with her close friend, the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke. In 1906 Modersohn-Becker wrote the following to Rilke: "And now I don’t know how to sign my name. I am not Modersohn and I am not Paula Becker anymore, I am Me, and hope to become that more and more." (Und nun weiss ich gar nicht, wie ich mich unterschreiben soll. Ich bin nicht Modersohn und ich bin auch nicht mehr Paula Becker, Ich bin Ich, und hoffe es immer mehr zu werden.)" This landmark statement of self-determination—Ich bin Ich (I am Me)—provides the sub-title for this exhibition, and a window into the artist’s formidable sense of identity.

“Paula Modersohn-Becker: Ich bin Ich / I Am Me” is organized by Neue Galerie New York and the Art Institute of Chicago. This exhibition is curated by Jill Lloyd at Neue Galerie New York and by Jay Clarke at the Art Institute of Chicago. We are grateful to the Paula Modersohn-Becker Foundation and Paula Modersohn-Becker Museum, Bremen for their partnership and collaboration.

This exhibition is made possible in part by the Neue Galerie President’s Circle.

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BANNER IMAGE

Paula Modersohn-Becker (1876-1907), Self-Portrait with Two Flowers in Her Raised Left Hand, 1907, oil on canvas. Jointly owned by The Museum of Modern Art, Gift of Debra and Leon Black, and The Neue Galerie New York, Gift of Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder. Conservation was made possible by the Bank of America Art Conservation Project.