The majority of Paula Modersohn-Becker’s paintings depict people. This likeness of Lee Hoetger, friend of the painter and wife of the artist Bernhard Hoetger, is among Modersohn-Becker’s most modern portraits. Set before a dark background in a narrowly cropped image, the figure directly confronts the viewer. Angular and almost mask-like, the face stands out with its narrow, almond-shaped eyes. The artist has built the figure up out of just a few surfaces and grasped it in geometrical terms.
Modersohn-Becker has used the bold, black contour lines and few – though sharply contrasting – colours to invest this likeness with astounding expressive power. The simplified and geometric treatment of the visual elements recalls images of the figure by Picasso or Cézanne.