63RD ANNUAL EXHIBITION, 2019
EMIL NOLDE – “PEOPLE ARE MY PICTURES”
Gallery: The painter’s ceramics
Besides Emil Nolde’s works depicting flowers, landscapes and seas, a significant place in his extensive oeuvre is occupied by paintings portraying people and figures. Right from the beginning of his artistic production these are found throughout all of his genres, in paintings, watercolours, drawings and prints. In his writings and letters, Nolde himself emphasised the importance of this group of works several times:
“People are my pictures”, he wrote in his autobiography.
Emil Nolde was not a portrait artist in the true sense. Pure representationalism was not important to him. The paintings illustrate the artist’s gaze upon the people portrayed; they reveal how he experienced them and particularly how he felt about them. In depicting his models, he went beyond the surface and portrayed their characters and personal characteristics as well. The paintings tell of interpersonal encounters and familial experiences, of the tension between the sexes, but especially too of feelings like love, desire, fear, astonishment and curiosity.
Nolde’s figurative works pertain to the fundamental circumstances of human existence. They are the ground in which his creativity takes root; they are nature observed, transcribed, altered, sometimes dreamed or enhanced, but always as a distinct and lively presence. When Nolde writes in his autobiography: “People are my pictures. Laugh, rejoice, weep or be happy, you are my pictures, and the sound of your voices, the essence of your natures in all their variety, you are colours to the painter”, then according to Dr. Christian Ring, Director of the Nolde Foundation Seebüll, “he places us as humans – in all of our diversity – at the centre of his art, and in such a way that even today the images or portrayed feelings may still be something we can identify with, and in which we can see ourselves. A superb artist such as Emil Nolde could give us no better gift”.
We wish you much joy on your journey of experience and discovery!
Dr. Christian Ring
Director of the Nolde Foundation Seebüll