A New Royal Academy Show Explores Modernism Through the Eyes of Four Women Artists Who Helped Shape the Movement, Hettie Judah, δημοσίευση Artnet News [10/11/2022]Marilena Pateraki
There’s some wild painting on show in London in Making Modernism. The Royal Academy’s new exhibition of women artists working in Germany in the early 20th century offers a fresh perspective on some of the great Modernist subjects—nightlife, the nude, the self. The work is burningly experimental—I spent ages hovering in close, trying to work out how paint had been applied—and distinctive in viewpoint.
Gabriele Münter portrays small children as complex beings full of thoughts and feelings. One grasps himself anxiously, another cocks her head, full of attitude. Paula Modersohn-Becker’s retort to the supine nudes of art history is to paint herself standing upright, naked but for a straw hat trailing orange ribbons—a color picked up in the fruit she holds, and the assertive triangle of her pubic hair. In Gabriele Werefkin’s The Dancer Alexander Sacharoff (1909), the gender-fluid performer emerges from fields of ascending blue, his skin, pale as a duck egg, illuminated by coral red burning from his eyes, lips and cheeks. Käthe Kollwitz translates studies of her own body writhing in sexual frenzy into a series of etchings showing skeletal death wrestling a grieving mother for the body of her child.
Making Modernism is the work of British curator Dorothy Price, who has researched, written about, and taught German Modernism for, she admits “all of [my] adult life, basically.” Some 30 years ago, during her postgraduate research into the art and images of 1920s Berlin, Price realized that there was “a huge gap between how art history is constructed and taught in UK academia, and the existence of a whole world of women.” Even her own PhD thesis presented “a one-sided view of modernism—it [didn’t] take account of female subjectivity at all.” So she went back and started to explore the lives and art of the women working in Germany at the time. Recently appointed Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art and Visual Culture at London’s Courtauld Institute, Price’s scholarship has introduced British art history students to the work of important women artists, most notably Paula Modersohn-Becker.
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