Paula Modersohn-Becker was unconventional.
The German expressionist, born in 1876, made bold choices on her subject matter at a time when there were strict expectations put on women. She is regarded as the first female painter to paint nude self-portraits while other female artists didn’t widely use female nudes as the subject of their paintings. She also painted women breastfeeding their children.
Modersohn-Becker isn’t as well known as fellow artists like Pablo Picasso or Henri Matisse, but her intense images helped introduce the world to modernism during her brief career. To celebrate her contributions to art, Google has dedicated its Doodle on Thursday to Modersohn-Becker on her 142nd birthday.
Born in Dresden-Friedrichstadt, Modersohn-Becker was raised in a cultured and intellectual household environment. Her art studies began when she was 18, training in the methods of realism and naturalism. She later abandoned these techniques to embrace Fauvism, a brief period characterized by seemingly wild brush work and strong colors.
Her most productive years were 1906 and 1907, right before her death later that year, caused by an embolism that formed in her leg after she gave birth to her daughter. She was 31.
The Doodle, which mimics her artistic style depicting domestic subjects, was illustrated by Berlin-based duo Golden Cosmos.