Thursday, August 28, 2014

Nolde, Emil

oil on Canvas
Staatliche Museen, National Galerie, Berlin, Germany

"I had an infinite number of visions at this time, for wherever I turned my eyes nature, the sky, the clouds were alive, in each stone and in the branches of each tree, everywhere, my figures stirred and lived their still or wildly animated life, and they aroused my enthusiasm as well as tormented me with demands that I paint them."

Emil Nolde (1867-1956) was a German painter. He was one of the first Expressionists, and is considered to be one of the great oil painting and watercolor painters of the 20th century. He is known for his vigorous brushwork and expressive choice of colors. Nolde focused mainly on religious imagery. Some aspects of the family background affected him deeply, the family were Protestants, steeped in religion, and in his youth Nolde read the Bible a great deal.

Nolde was a supporter of the Nazi party from the early 1920s, having become a member of its Danish section. However Hitler rejected all forms of modernism as "degenerate art", and the Nazi regime officially condemned Nolde's work. 1052 of his works were removed from museums, more than those of any other artist. He was not allowed to paint, even in private, after 1941. After World War II, Nolde was once again honored, and he was awarded the German Order of Merit in 1952, his country's highest civilian decoration. Nolde died in April 1956, aged eighty eight.