Paula Modersohn-Becker was the first woman to ever a paint a naked self-portrait. She was a friend of Rilke’s, an expressionist before expressionism, and she died giving birth at the age of 32. I knew none of that when I started reading this book, I had never heard of Paula Modersohn-Becker, and this book expects that you haven’t either. That’s part of the point. Being Here Is Everything is about the experience of being a female artist, more particularly, it’s about how your work interacts with your relationships and your body, especially your fertility. I want to thrust this into the hands of every female artist and writer who comes into this store, and every man who is in a relationship with one. You will rarely have read anything that feels so vital.— Madeleine
The short, obscure, and prolific life of the German expressionist painter Paula Modersohn-Becker (1876-1907), a significant figure in modernism.
First published in France in 2016, Being Here Is So Much traces the short, obscure, and prolific life of the German expressionist painter Paula Modersohn-Becker (1876-1907). In a brief career, cut short by her death from an embolism at the age of thirty-one, shortly after she gave birth to a child, Modersohn-Becker trained in Germany, traveled often to Paris, developed close friendships with the sculptor Clara Westhoff and the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, and became one of her generation's preeminent artists, helping introduce modernity to the twentieth century alongside such other painters as Picasso and Matisse.
Marie Darrieussecq's triumphant and illuminating biography at once revives Modersohn-Becker's reputation as a significant figure in modernism and sheds light on the extreme difficulty women have faced in attaining recognition and establishing artistic careers.