Head of a Girl, Paula Modersohn-Becker
Paula Modersohn-Becker
Head of a Girl
Back to top

Paula Modersohn-Becker

Head of a Girl, ca. 1905

24.5 x 21.0 cm
Physical Description
Oil on canvas
Inventory Number
SG 1138
Acquired in 1953
Not on display


About the Work

The girl stares unblinkingly past the viewer. There is no sparkle in her eyes, no smile on her lips as her sideways glance withdraws from the intimacy of the image detail. The child's unapproachability is reflected in the simplified forms: her face is positioned like a circle frontally in the rectangular frame. The closed, geometric structure of the picture lacks any narrative element, and so the girl remains caught in her earnest silence. Instead of an idealised portrait of a child, Modersohn-Becker, whose formal reduction was strongly influenced by Cézanne and Gauguin, shows an enigmatic individual.

Work Data

Basic Information

Head of a Girl
Period Produced
Object Type
Physical Description
Oil on canvas
Work Catalogues
  • Busch/Werner 1998, Nr. 569

Property and Acquisition

Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Picture Copyright
Public Domain
Acquired in 1953

Work Content

Motifs and References

Main Motif


  • 31D11222 girl (child between toddler and youth)
  • 31A221(+1) head (human) (+ front view)
  • 31AA241(+1) head in normal upright position - AA - female human figure (+ front view)

Research and Discussion


Object History
Willy Wiegand (1884-1961), Bremen und München, seit 1911
Kunstkabinett Hans Klihm, München
verkauft an die Städtische Galerie, Frankfurt am Main, Juni 1953.


Since 2001, the Städel Museum has systematically been researching the provenance of all objects that were acquired during the National Socialist period, or that changed owners or could have changed owners during those years. The basis for this research is the “Washington Declaration”, also known as the “Washington Conference Principles”, formulated at the 1998 “Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets” and the subsequent “Joint Declaration”.

The provenance information is based on the sources researched at the time they were published digitally. However, this information can change at any time when new sources are discovered. Provenance research is therefore a continuous process and one that is updated at regular intervals.

Ideally, the provenance information documents an object’s origins from the time it was created until the date when it found its way into the collection. It contains the following details, provided they are known:

  • the type of acquisition and/or the way the object changed hands
  • the owner's name and place of residence
  • the date on which it changed hands

The successive ownership records are separated from each other by a semicolon.

Gaps in the record of a provenance are indicated by the placeholder “…”. Unsupported information is listed in square brackets.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact the museum at .

More to discover



Do you have any suggestions, questions or information about this work?

Last update