Museum Folkwang
Selbstbildnis mit Kamelienzweig
  • Paula Modersohn-Becker
  • Selbstbildnis mit Kamelienzweig, 1906/1907

  • Self Portrait with Camellia Branch
  • Oil on wood
  • 61,5 x 30,5 cm
  • Acquired in 1913 for the Museum Folkwang, Hagen, since 1922 Essen, confiscated in 1937, re-acquired in 1957
  • Inv. G 269
  • CommentaryLike almost no other work by Paula Modersohn-Becker, this self-portrait with a camellia branch shows how her own painting was greatly inspired by antique mummy portraits she had seen in her visits to the Louvre: »I now feel deeply how I can learn from the heads of antiquity. How greatly and simply seen!« (Paula Modersohn-Becker, Diary, Paris, February 25th, 1903).
    The high, narrow format of the support, a directly frontal depiction, a focus on head and upper body and over-large eyes can be linked directly to their antique predecessors as can the sketchiness of the lower part of the image, which with in situ mummy portraits was covered with cloth bands. A camellia branch held in her hand, pictorially only hinted at, takes on – not least through the iconographically charged gesture itself - the function of an attribute also referring to an older pictorial tradition: The evergreen camellia branch symbolized an eternal cycle of blooming and withering, becoming and passing, life and death. Contemplating the transience of her own existence was not unusual for her. On July 26th, 1900, she noted in her diary: »I know that I won’t live very long. But is that sad? Is a festival better because it’s longer? And my life is a festival, a short, intensive festival.«
    The making of this painting can be linked to her last stay in Paris between August, 1906 and the end of March 1907. Her face seems calm, almost transfigured. It is Modersohn-Becker’s last self-portrait. On November 20th, 1907, just three weeks after the birth of her first child, she died as a result of an embolism.
  • ProvenanceKünstlerin
    1913, Otto Modersohn
    02.1913 - 1922, Aus Ausstellung Paula Modersohn-Becker erworben, Museum Folkwang, Hagen
    1922 - 06.07.1937, Kauf, Museum Folkwang, Essen
    06.07.1937, für Ausstellung "Entartete Kunst" in München, Beschlagnahmung durch das Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda, Berlin
    1938 - 03.02.1939, Depot Schloss Schönhausen
    1939, Tausch, Sofie und Emanuel Fohn, Rom
    1939 - 05.04.1957, Prof. Dr. Christian Adolf Isermeyer, Berlin
    1957, Kauf bei Isermeyer, Museum Folkwang, Essen
  • Obj_Id: 3,406
  • Obj_Internet_S: Highlight
  • Obj_Ownership_S (Verantw):Painting, Sculpture, Media Art
  • Obj_SpareNField01_N (Verantw): 187
  • Obj_Creditline_S: Museum Folkwang, Essen, Gemäldesammlung
  • Obj_Title1_S: Selbstbildnis mit Kamelienzweig
  • Obj_Title2_S: Self Portrait with Camellia Branch
  • Obj_PartDescription_S (Titelerg):
  • Obj_SpareMField01_M (Alle Titel): Selbstbildnis mit Kamelienzweig Self Portrait with Camellia Branch Selbstbildnis mit Kamelienzweig
  • Obj_Dating_S: 1906/1907
  • Jahr von: 1,906
  • Jahr bis: 1,907
  • Obj_IdentNr_S: G 269
  • Obj_IdentNrSort_S: G 0269
  • Obj_Classification_S (Objtyp): Painting
  • Obj_Crate_S: 61,5 x 30,5 cm
  • Obj_Material_S: Oil on wood
  • Obj_Technique_S:
  • Obj_SpareSField01_S (Mat./Tech.): Oil on wood
  • Obj_AccNote_S (Erwerb): Acquired in 1913 for the Museum Folkwang, Hagen, since 1922 Essen, confiscated in 1937, re-acquired in 1957
  • Obj_PermanentLocation_S (Standort):
  • Obj_Condition1_S (Druckerei):
  • Obj_Condition2_S (Auflage):
  • Obj_Subtype_S (Genre):
  • Obj_Rights_S: © Museum Folkwang, Essen
Commentary
Artists
Provenance

Like almost no other work by Paula Modersohn-Becker, this self-portrait with a camellia branch shows how her own painting was greatly inspired by antique mummy portraits she had seen in her visits to the Louvre: »I now feel deeply how I can learn from the heads of antiquity. How greatly and simply seen!« (Paula Modersohn-Becker, Diary, Paris, February 25th, 1903).
The high, narrow format of the support, a directly frontal depiction, a focus on head and upper body and over-large eyes can be linked directly to their antique predecessors as can the sketchiness of the lower part of the image, which with in situ mummy portraits was covered with cloth bands. A camellia branch held in her hand, pictorially only hinted at, takes on – not least through the iconographically charged gesture itself - the function of an attribute also referring to an older pictorial tradition: The evergreen camellia branch symbolized an eternal cycle of blooming and withering, becoming and passing, life and death. Contemplating the transience of her own existence was not unusual for her. On July 26th, 1900, she noted in her diary: »I know that I won’t live very long. But is that sad? Is a festival better because it’s longer? And my life is a festival, a short, intensive festival.«
The making of this painting can be linked to her last stay in Paris between August, 1906 and the end of March 1907. Her face seems calm, almost transfigured. It is Modersohn-Becker’s last self-portrait. On November 20th, 1907, just three weeks after the birth of her first child, she died as a result of an embolism.