Paula Modersohn-Becker - The old peasant woman

by Alexandra Tuschka

The old woman wearily rests her face in her hand. She has tied her thin hair back with a headscarf. The large, unadorned eyes look blankly out of the picture space. She looks sad, marked by life and hard work. Surrounding the dreary motif is an equally dreary background, streaked with brown and black.

The lady's light skin contrasts strongly with this. Compositionally, the two arms form two sides of a triangle; the button band of her dress draws a vertical line in the center. The egg-shaped head is enthroned above this.


The painter refrained from attributes or objects that could be described in more detail. The simple portrait testifies to the painter's strong sympathy for the model. Paula Modersohn-Becker felt a lifelong connection to mothers and women with hard fates.


Paula Modersohn-Becker - The old peasant woman

Oil on canvas, 1903, 71 x 59 cm, Kunsthalle in Hamburg