Drawing featuring a small child seated with its hands in its lap stares out at the viewer amid a forest of birch trees.
In 1897 Paula Becker first visited the artists’ colony in Worpswede, twenty miles north of Bremen, with which she would be associated for the remaining ten years of her life. Influenced by the German Romantics, the "Worpsweders," co-founded by her future husband Otto Modersohn, dedicated themselves to an anti-academic, anti-industrial philosophy that looked to the surrounding rural landscape and its inhabitants for inspiration.
During her short life, Modersohn-Becker produced a remarkable body of work: over five hundred paintings and almost twice as many drawings, many of which focus upon a single human form as the subject. In this work, a small child seated with its hands in its lap stares out at the viewer amid a forest of birch trees. This composition, characteristic of the artist’s style during this period, is free from anecdotal detail. The austere setting and clean line convey a simplicity that works to illuminate the fixed gaze of the child. It is at once a look that suggests vulnerability as well as a deeper inner resolve. True to Modersohn-Becker’s representations of the rural people in the north, this work, with its paring down to essentials, evokes a compassionate humanity.
Signed and dated in German script, in pencil, l.r. margin: Johs Molzahn - 20 Dated, titled and numberd, l.l. margin: Jo 11-20/XXVII Ferntaster II (German script) Custom's stamp in blue on reverse of print and mat: circle, eagle, Zollamt München-Post (?)
Signed and dated, in pencil, l.r.: E W NAy 38; Watermark: MBM (FRANCE) INGRES D'ARCHES; On verso, circular stamp with: ZA MUNCHEN OSTBHF (Zollamt München Ost Bahnhof = Custom House Munich East Railway Station)