Artist of the week: Emil Nolde.

Emil Nolde (German, August 7, 1867–April 13, 1956) was a painter and printmaker. He was born close to the German-Danish border, near the village of Nolde, under the birth name of Emil Hansen. His parents were Frisian and Danish peasants. Nolde was known for his bold choice of colors and dynamic brushwork. He is considered to be one of the first Expressionists. As a young adult, he worked in furniture factories, and did woodcarving and craftsman work. In 1889, the artist entered the School of Applied Arts in Karlsruhe, and became a drawing teacher in Switzerland. In his childhood years, he had a passion for drawing and painting, but he did not pursue a career as an artist until he was 31. In 1898, Nolde was turned down by the Munich Academy of Fine Arts. His rejection motivated him to hone his skills as an artist; he took painting and drawing classes for the next three years. During this time, Nolde often visited Paris, and he became familiar with the Impressionist Art culture that existed at that time. In 1902, he married actress Ada Vilstrup and relocated to Berlin. Shortly after moving, Nolde met art collector Gustav Schiefler (German, 1857–1935) and artist Karl Schmidt-Rottluff (German, 1884–1976). Later in life, both of these men were instrumental in advocating Nolde’s work.

In the early 1920s, Nolde became a supporter and member of the Danish section of the Nazi Party. Unfortunately for Nolde, Hitler did not agree with his style of art and eventually condemned his work. Because of his condemnation by the Nazi Party, 1,052 pieces of Nolde’s work were removed from museums and art galleries. After the removal of his work, the Nazi Party forbade him to paint in both public and private spaces. In spite of this, Nolde created hundreds of watercolor paintings in what he called the Unpainted Pictures series. Some of his other famous paintings include Portrait of a Young Woman and a Child (1926), Prophet (1921), and Young Couple (1913).

The artist’s work has been exhibited in many art galleries and museums, including the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, NY. Nolde died on April 13, 1956.



Italiener, 1906, woodcut, 28.3 cm x 22.8 cm.




Schiefer Turm in Soest, 1906, etching, 19.3 x 14. cm .


Images and text:

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