Paula Modersohn-Becker (German, Feb. 8, 1876 - Nov. 22, 1907)

Self-portrait with Flowering Trees, 1902
Tempera on cardboard, 33 × 45,5 cm
Museum am Ostwall, Dortmund, Germany 

[...] For that is what you understood: ripe fruits. You set them before the canvas, in white bowls, and weighed out each one’s heaviness with your colors. Women too, you saw, were fruits; and children, molded from inside, into the shapes of their existence. [...]
                -- R. M. Rilke: Requiem for a Friend
Child beside a birch tree, 1904
Paula Modersohn-Becker Museum, Germany

Old Peasant Woman, c. 1905
Oil on canvas, 75.57 x 57.79 cm 
The Detroit Institute of Arts  

Portrait of Rainer Maria Rilke, 1906
Oil, tempera on cardboard, 32,3 × 25,4 cm
Collection Ludwig Roselius, Bremen 

[...] How short your life seems, if you now compare it with those empty hours you passed in silence, bending the abundant strengths of your abundant future out of their course, into the new child-seed that once again was fate. A painful task: a task beyond all strength. But you performed it day after day, you dragged yourself in front of it; you pulled the lovely weft out of the loom and wove your threads into a different pattern. [...]

Self-portrait, 1906
Tempera on cardboard, 62,2 × 48,2 cm 
Ludwig Roselius Collection, Bremen

Self-Portrait on Her Fifth Wedding Anniversary, 1906
Oil on canvas, 101 x 69.9 cm
The Boettcherstrasse Museum, Bremen


Self-portrait, 1907
62 × 31 cm, Museum Folkwang, Essen

[...] You knew so much of all this, you were able to do so much; you passed through life so open to all things, like an early morning. I know: women suffer; for love means being alone; and artists in their work sometimes intuit that they must keep transforming, where they love. You began both; both exist in that which any fame takes from you and disfigures. Oh you were far beyond all fame; were almost invisible; had withdrawn your beauty, softly, as one would lower a brightly colored flag on the gray morning after a holiday. You had just one desire: a year’s long work -- which was never finished; was somehow never finished. [...]

- R. M. Rilke: Requiem for a Friend, translated from the German by Stephen Mitchell (Source) 

Rainer Maria Rilke: Requiem für eine Freundin

Photo: Paula Modersohn-Becker in Worpswede, 1905