I can’t believe it’s taken me more than three years of living in Bremen to finally visit the Paula Modersohn-Becker Museum. Modersohn-Becker is one of the most important painters of early expressionism and spent much of her life in Bremen — in fact I walk by her family’s house every day! The museum on Böttcherstraße also happens to be the very first to have ever been dedicated to the work of a female painter.
The catalyst for finally dropping by was a special exhibition called: Sie. Selbst. Nackt. (She. Herself. Naked.) It features female artists in their own artistic expression of themselves nude — radical, courageous, introspective. And the Paula Modersohn-Becker Museum is the perfect location to host such an exhibition because she was indeed the first female artist to paint herself nude.
Modersohn-Becker’s Self-Portrait on 6th Wedding Anniversary (1906) was revolutionary for its time — transforming female nudes in paintings from passive subjects to active creators of the representations of their bodies.
The exhibition features an eclectic mix of classical and contemporary artists — painters, photographers, and performance artists — from all over the world. Not an overly large collection, I found it quite easy to become absorbed by each piece without having to rush on to the next. And the display information throughout the museum (in German only) did a great job of explaining the social and cultural context of the self-portraits. It was one of the best Saturday afternoons I’ve spent in a long time.
Sie. Selbst. Nackt. is running for just a couple more weeks until February 2nd, 2014 and is located at Böttcherstraße 6–10 in the center of Bremen. Tickets cost 10€ normally, or 6€ with a student discount. Plus, there are still a lot of interesting talks, tours, and events associated with the exhibition, so it’s worth checking out!
Are you a fan of Modersohn-Becker? Have you visited her museum?