Trollhois Garten, 1907
oil on canvas
73,5 x 88 cm
Am Weintisch, 1911
oil on canvas
88,5 x 73,5 cm
Source: Museum Frieder Burda
The exhibition is the first extensive presentation of Nolde’s works in southern Germany in many years. It comprises about sixty oil paintings and twenty watercolors ranging from the beginning of his artistic career to his late work. The exhibition was developed in collaboration with the Nolde Foundation Seebüll and will be curated by Manfred Reuther, the former director of the Nolde Foundation. Emil Nolde (1867–1956) is one of the most important artists of Expressionism, and this comprehensive presentation features the principal themes of his creative work. Besides landscapes, it includes figure paintings and portraits, religious motifs, as well as impressions from his journey to the South Sea.
The lushly colored paintings reveal the complexity of Nolde’s lifeworld. What they all share is the emotional power of color. Manfred Reuther explains: “From the beginning of his painterly work, Nolde’s artistic development was the path to color as an ultimate means of expression, which he increasingly mastered.” Nolde was convinced: “Colors were a joy to me, and I felt as if they loved my hands.” His colorful paintings and watercolors testify to his affinity with nature and his search for primal human states. Radiant red, dark blue, deep black, and intense lilac—these are some of the expressive colors Emil Nolde used to paint romantic landscapes and dramatic seascapes.
“I love the music of colors”
Manfred Reuther: “In Nolde’s artistic development, the phenomenon of color was not brought to his attention from outside, was not prepared or guided by theoretical schools of thought; rather, his distinct propensity for color was a natural, latent gift and qualitative inclination that he possessed early on and which sought to evolve. Even as a child, the young Nolde was aware of his inherent urge for pictorial composition and his special talent. He confided in the village pastor that his secret desire was to become a painter. He recalls his first creative use of colors in his autobiography: ‘In school, I painted over all of the pictures in my Bible story and even then constantly lived in the joy of color.’"
In addition to his lushly colored oil paintings, Nolde’s numerous watercolors reflect his eagerness to experiment. Manfred Reuther explains: “His painting with watercolors is characterized by extraordinary diversity. The unique quality of watercolors accommodated his pursuit of spontaneity and direct expression.”