In 1897, Otto Modersohn married Helene Schröder, who bore his daughter Elsbeth in 1898. Helene died in 1900, and Modersohn married the painter Paula Becker only one year later. The child in “Dreebeen with Girl” may be Otto’s daughter Elsbeth. The old woman is the poor house resident Mother Schröder, known as “Dreebeen” (Low German for three-legged milking stool), who was later also often painted by Paula Modersohn-Becker. Otto Modersohn very sensitively captured the mood of the two people in his painting and the deep importance of each to the other: The old woman with the cane (the third leg) raises her hand in a narrative gesture and looks down to the child, who stands transfixed and entranced before her, portrayed far more through posture than through physiognomic details - an entirely typical scene between old and young that becomes universally valid and timeless precisely due to the neglecting of details.
Subscribe to our newsletter and/or news on selected artists!