Emil Nolde

1867 Nolde/North Schleswig - 1956 Seebüll/Schleswig-Holstein

Emil Nolde was born as Emil Hansen on 7 August 1867 in Nolde, a village on the German-Danish border. He first completed his training as a woodcarver before studying at the Kunstgewerbeschule (School of Arts and Crafts) in Karlsruhe until 1891. After working for several years as an art teacher at the Industry and Trade Museum in St Gallen, he decided to become an independent artist in 1896. From 1896 to 1900, he studied at the private Friedrich Fehr School in Munich, travelled to Vienna, Milan and Paris and studied originals by Titian, Rembrandt, Böcklin, Leibl and Marées. In 1906 he became a member of Die Brücke for a short time, and in 1908 joined the Berlin Secession. He was expelled from the Secession in 1910 after a scandal and was then involved in the launch of the Neue Secession. In 1912 Nolde contributed to the Blaue Reiter exhibitions and in subsequent years the great individualist’s work was exhibited in Berlin, Jena, Hamburg and Munich. In 1913 and 1914 Nolde and his wife joined an expedition to the South Seas. A retrospective of his work was staged in Dresden to mark his sixtieth birthday. The Nazi regime placed his work at the heart of the exhibition of “Degenerate Art” in 1937 before completely prohibiting him from painting in 1941. Nolde ignored the ban on painting and dubbed his small watercolours from this period his “unpainted paintings”. After 1945, he was awarded countless honours for his art. He died in Seebüll in Northern Friesland on 15 April 1956.