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.
A seated woman in late 19th c. dress is shown against an undescribed dark background; she looks directly at the viewer and rests her chin on her right hand. At the lower left is a flower-like form that is the artist's "butterfly" signature.
Thought originally to portray one of Whistler's sisters-in-law (Ethel Whibley), recent scholarship suggests that this may portray his wife, Beatrix, probably fairly early in their marriage (they were married in 1888).
In lower margin, in plate, l.l.: Painted by Maria Cosway; l.c.: MRS. COSWAY. / Published by V. and R. Green, Newman Street, Oxford Street, London. Sepr. 1st; 1787; l.r.: Engraved by V. Green, Mezzotinto Engraver to his Majesty, and to the Elector Palatine. On back, two stamps: Lugt 877a, and circular stamp with DOUANE / Exportation / PARIS / CENTRAL
All inscriptions in pencil. Verso: u.r. margin corner: 40 Lower margin, just beneath the plate mark, from left to right: Peint par L. Tocqué Abel Fr Poisson, Marq. de Marigny Gravé par [faded: J.G. Wille] l.l. margin corner, faded illegible writing: [115? or 215?] l.r. margin corner, faded illegible writing: [S56?] l.c. margin, between two corner inscriptions (faded): Pour sa reception a l'Académie, 1761 Above the l.r. margin faded attribution to the engraver, illegible diagonal writing: (PRJ?) Recto: u.r. corner, faded: (N15-G?) / 112 l.l.: L. Tocqué l.r.: J.G. Wille / Abel Francois Poisson / Marquis de Marigny l.l. corner: 40 40770 (encircled) / [illegible] l.r. corner: Z (erased) / CX / 1968/2.40 2-12 [illegible]