Emil Nolde Denmark & Germany, 1867-1956


Emil Nolde (b. 1867, Nolde, Denmark; d. 1956, Seebüll, Germany) was a pioneering figure of German Expressionism. Nolde began training in the fine arts in 1898 after starting his career as a woodcarver in furniture factories. In 1906, Nolde joined Die Brücke, an artist’s group based in Dresden dedicated to the role of color and emotion as central to expressionism and the broader evolution of twentieth-century modern art. Nolde was later involved with several artist groups over the course of his career, including the Berlin Secessionists, who rejected government-endorsed academic art, and Der Blaue Reiter, who believed that color and abstract form held spiritual value. With the rise of Nazism, Nolde’s work was rejected as “degenerate art,” though the artist continued to paint in secrecy using the discreet medium of watercolor well into his old age. Beyond Nolde’s contributions to the exploration of color as a tool for evoking emotion in the medium of painting, the artist was also central to the revitalization of printmaking as an art form. The Nolde Museum in Seebüll, Germany, displays seminal examples from the artist’s oeuvre, and his work is also held in institutional collections around the world, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. and the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid.