Lecture: Paula Modersohn-Becker: The First Modern Woman Artist, Professor Diane Radycki (Moravian College)


Location: Annenberg Auditorium, Snite Museum of Art

Professor Diane Radycki

“The complication of the artist’s being a woman,” mused the poet Rainer Maria Rilke about modernism, “ah, that really is a whole new question.” Diane Radycki addresses this question as she looks at paintings (including the Snite Museum’s landscape) by Paula Modersohn-Becker—a friend of Rilke from the Worpswede art colony.

The lecture will be followed by a book signing of Professor Radycki’s new study of Paula Modersohn-Becker, published by Yale University Press.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Paula Modersohn-Becker: The First Modern Woman Artist by Diane Radycki is the first American publication in over two decades on this important early modernist—a daring innovator of gender imagery and the first woman artist to challenge centuries of traditional representations of the female body in art.

Diane Radycki examines Modersohn-Becker’s compelling biography (including her friendships with the poet Rainer Maria Rilke and the sculptor Clara Rilke-Westhoff), analyzes the genres of Modersohn-Becker’s work—figure (especially the nudes), still life, and landscape—and details the reception of her work and the rise of her reputation, from obscurity following her untimely death in 1907 to notoriety in the infamous Degenerate Art Exhibition of 1937.

This authoritative book makes an important contribution to understanding the significant role of women artists in the complex evolution of modernism.

BIOGRAPHY:Diane Radycki is an art historian and specializes in European art of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her scholarship focuses on the work of women artists in this period. A recipient of Fulbright and AAUW (American Association of University Women) fellowships, she received her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1993.

Diane Radycki lives in New York City. She is an associate professor at Moravian College, where she directs Payne Gallery.


Sponsored by the Department of German and Russian Languages and Literatures, the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, the Department of Art, Art History, and Design, Gender Studies Program – Boehnen Fund for Excellence & Genevieve D. Willis Endowment for Excellence, and the Snite Museum of Art.