Cabinet

Nolde

SERIES OF EXHIBITIONS

 

Nolde
Cabinet 1
‘The release from the soil was accomplished’

Emil Hansen’s postcard ‘Schleswig-Holstein Embraced by the Sea’ (1895), which shows the artist as a stick figure waving from his hometown of Nolde, attests to his sense of humour. It demonstrates his ability to create fabulous stories. The path in life that had been set out for him was to become a farmer. But in his youth, he instead went to Flensburg to work as an apprentice woodcarver in the workshop of furniture manufacturer Heinrich Sauermann. The wash pencil drawing of a carved bench end illustrates Hansen’s well-trained sense of style. His subsequent job as a carver in a furniture factory in Karlsruhe enabled Hansen to take part in freehand drawing and modelling lessons. He then became an arts and crafts teacher in St. Gallen, where he created his early landscapes. These watercolours were first drawn with pencil, and were executed in a realistic style. In 1897 Hansen was dismissed from his position, a turn of events that he welcomed as the springboard to his life as an artist.

Nolde
Kabinett
„Schleswig-Holstein meerumschlungen!“, watercolour,
© Nolde Stiftung Seebüll
Nolde

 

Cabinet 2 – Dachau/Paris
‘… great artists find their way undeterred’

 
Emil Hansen took advantage of the financial success of his series of ‘mountain postcards’ to launch his career as an independent artist. He did not lack audacity: ‘The greater the artistic gift given, the less education is required […].’ He attended Friedrich Fehr’s private school in Munich, then Adolf Hölzel’s private school in Dachau. Hölzel successfully sensitised Hansen to detailed observations of nature, which led him to a crucial realisation: ‘[…] the further one distanced oneself from nature and nonetheless remained natural, so much greater is the art’. In 1899, he began to study at the renowned Académie Julian in Paris, as well as continuing his own studies, for example at the Louvre. After nine months in Paris, he did not have much to pack: ‘Otherwise I only had a few life drawings, schoolwork to take with me, of models that were particularly beautiful all the same: an ascetic, sinewy Italian and a tall, slim Frenchwoman.’ And he summed up: ‘Paris had given me very little, and I had hoped for so much.’
Nolde
Kabinett
Stehender weiblicher Akt, Paris 1899,
© Nolde Stiftung Seebüll
Nolde

 

Cabinet 2 long wall – Brücke annual portfolios
‘… the local artists’ group “Die Brücke” would consider it a great honour to be able to welcome you as a member’

 
Fritz Bleyl, Erich Heckel, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff founded the artists’ group Die Brücke (The Bridge) on 7 June 1905; later, Max Pechstein and others joined the group. They believed in a new generation of creators, and in their opinion, Emil Nolde was one of them. On 4 February 1906, Schmidt-Rottluff invited Nolde to join Die Brücke. This began a short but exciting chapter in art history. Ada and Emil Nolde were the originators of the idea of ‘annual portfolios’ to be sent to the group’s supporters’ circle of passive members. Whereas in folders I to III, various active members each contributed one print – in the 1907 annual portfolio, Nolde’s etching ‘Nude’ was included – from issue IV onwards, each portfolio was dedicated to a single artist. All of the works were united by an awareness of their mission to present the artistic and stylistic development of Die Brücke.
Nolde
Kabinett
Akt, Radierung 1906,
© Nolde Stiftung Seebüll
Nolde

 

Cabinet 3
Heckel, Kirchner, Schmidt-Rottluff, Jawlensky and Marc in the Nolde Collection

 
In February 1906, Emil Nolde joined the artists’ group Die Brücke (The Bridge). The ideas contributed to the group by Ada and Emil Nolde included the annual portfolios, the annual report, passive membership, and the membership card in the form of a woodcut. These measures increased public awareness of Die Brücke over the long term. On 9 November 1907, after only a short time, Nolde left the group for professional and personal reasons. Prints by the Brücke artists make up a significant part of the Nolde Collection. But the holdings of the Nolde Foundation also reflect Nolde’s friendly contact with Alexej von Jawlensky and Franz Marc from the Blue Rider (Blaue Reiter) group, as well as with their wives. These works show each artist’s characteristic subject: the face for Jawlensky, the figure for Klee and animal motifs for Marc. In his collection, Nolde gathered the works of artists with whom he was acquainted or befriended most of all. Thus, this collection bears witness to the network of the loner Nolde, despite his individualism.
Nolde
Kabinett
Franz Marc, Zwei Füchse,
Gouache 1913
Nolde

 

Cabinet 4
‘The wide, tempestuous sea is still in its original state’

 
Throughout his life, Emil Nolde was fascinated by the sea. Having grown up surrounded by the sea in Schleswig-Holstein, he had been familiar with this force of nature since childhood. ‘I have always been fascinated by everything primeval and archaic. The wide, tempestuous sea is still in its original state; the wind, the sun, even the starry sky are virtually the same as they were fifty thousand years ago’, he wrote in his autobiography. In 1941, the Nazis banned Nolde from professional activity. This ban made it impossible for him to obtain materials via official channels, and he shifted his focus to watercolours, which were more abundant. He created more than 1,300 ‘Unpainted Pictures’, an immense body of late work. Many of them were sketches for figurative paintings, clearly reflecting Nolde’s fascination with the elements. These were stored impressions of the force of nature, which Nolde let flow onto small sheets of paper in wet-in-wet technique.
Nolde
Kabinett
Meer mit gelber Sonne, watercolor,
© Nolde Stiftung Seebüll
Nolde

 

Cabinet 5
‘… my love of the native landscape glowed’

 
The flat marshland of his home in the German-Danish border area is an important subject in Emil Nolde’s art. He described it matter-of-factly: ‘Our landscape is modest, far removed from anything exciting or extravagant, we know that; but in return for the love one feels for it, the landscape offers the careful observer infinite amounts of calm, intimate beauty, austere grandeur as well as a stormy, wild life.’ Nolde saw his roots in the region as a formative influence on his style: ‘[…] all forces soon awoke in the man born in the countryside; the love of the native landscape, of the sea, of the flowers, the animals and people glowed […]. And instead of dissolution, I sought attachment, summary instead of destruction of form; instead of taste and increasing technique, deepening expression, broad areas and strong healthy colours.’ And so he painted the green of the wide fens; the blue of the countless sluices, rivers and lakes; and the red, yellow and orange of glowing sunsets in luminous hues.
Nolde
Kabinett
Drei grasende Kühe, watercolor um 1950,
© Nolde Stiftung Seebüll
Nolde

 

Cabinet 6
‘I loved flowers in the context of their destiny’

 
The garden was both a retreat and a source of inspiration for Emil Nolde. In every place where he lived in the countryside, he planted a flower garden. Around 1917, he began a series of watercolours with flower motifs. Nolde focused on the brightly coloured individual large flower heads, often combining contrasting shapes and colours: amaryllis and cyclamen, and tulips in red, orange and purple. To heighten surreal-seeming contrasts, he found exotic plants in the Zoological Garden and on a journey to the South Seas. Blossoming, blooming, and dying, the flowers personified human emotions and moods, and their individuality was so strongly expressed that the pictures of them were almost portraits. ‘I loved flowers in the context of their destiny: shooting up, blossoming, glowing, pleasing, sloping down, fading, and ending up cast in the pit.’ Inspired by the flowers of his paradisiacal garden at Seebüll, Nolde continued to paint flower watercolours past the age of eighty, almost until the end of his life.
Nolde
Kabinett
Dahlien, Herbstlaub und Hahnenkamm (rot u. rotviolett), watercolor,
© Nolde Stiftung Seebüll
Nolde

 

Studio
The religious paintings: ‘Not to have God before me […], but God within me, firey and holy like the love of Christ.’

 
The religious pictures are among Emil Nolde’s most important and simultaneously most controversial works. By his estimate, he created the first painting of this series in 1909, and in 1911/12 he produced the major work of the series with the nine-piece “Life of Christ”. The central panel alone, “Crucifixion”, is the largest painting in Nolde’s entire oeuvre.  In order to exhibit this preeminent work in Nolde’s former “workshop”, the floor was lowered about a metre and the north window bricked up. In his “biblical and legend pictures”, as Nolde called this group of works, he did not consider himself bound to an exact rendition of a biblical event or ecclesiastical dogma. In complete artistic freedom he portrayed a personal, fantastical event, that he experienced as “inwardly glowing” deep within himself.
Nolde
Kabinett
„Verkündigung”, Gemälde 1926,
© Nolde Stiftung Seebüll
Nolde