Emil Nolde (German, August 7, 1867–April 13, 1956) was a painter and printmaker. He was born close to the German-Danish border, near the village of Nolde, under the birth name of Emil Hansen. His parents were Frisian and Danish peasants. Nolde was known for his bold choice of colors and dynamic brushwork. He is considered to be one of the first Expressionists. As a young adult, he worked in furniture factories, and did woodcarving and craftsman work. In 1889, the artist entered the School of Applied Arts in Karlsruhe, and became a drawing teacher in Switzerland. In his childhood years, he had a passion for drawing and painting, but he did not pursue a career as an artist until he was 31. In 1898, Nolde was turned down by the Munich Academy of Fine Arts. His rejection motivated him to hone his skills as an artist; he took painting and drawing classes for the next three years. During this time, Nolde often visited Paris, and he became familiar with the Impressionist Art culture that existed at that time. In 1902, he married actress Ada Vilstrup and relocated to Berlin. Shortly after moving, Nolde met art collector Gustav Schiefler (German, 1857–1935) and artist Karl Schmidt-Rottluff (German, 1884–1976). Later in life, both of these men were instrumental in advocating Nolde's work.

In the early 1920s, Nolde became a supporter and member of the Danish section of the Nazi Party. Unfortunately for Nolde, Hitler did not agree with his style of art and eventually condemned his work. Because of his condemnation by the Nazi Party, 1,052 pieces of Nolde's work were removed from museums and art galleries. After the removal of his work, the Nazi Party forbade him to paint in both public and private spaces. In spite of this, Nolde created hundreds of watercolor paintings in what he called the Unpainted Pictures series. Some of his other famous paintings include Portrait of a Young Woman and a Child (1926), Prophet (1921), and Young Couple (1913).

The artist’s work has been exhibited in many art galleries and museums, including the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, NY. Nolde died on April 13, 1956.

Timeline

1867
Born: in Nolde, North Schleswig, Germany as Emil Hansen on August 7th
1884–1888
Had an apprenticeship as a wood carver and furniture designer in Flensburg
1892–1898
Taught industrial drawing at the Gewerbemuseum
1899
Went to Dachau to become Adolf Hölzel’s pupil
1906
Briefly joined a group of painters called ‘Die Brücke’
1909
First attempted to paint using watercolors on non-absorbent paper
1939–1945
Painted his ‘unpainted paintings’ in Seebüll
1956
Died: in Seebüll, Germany on April 13th

Exhibitions

2012
Max Liebermann und Emil Nolde. Gartenbilder, Liebermann Villa am Wannsee, Germany
2011
Die unbekannte Sammlung - Klassiker der Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Germany
2008
Emil Nolde. Begegnung mit dem Nordischen, Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Bielefeld
2007
Emil Nolde. Die Bergpostkarten, Museumberg Flensburg, Flensburg
2006
Emile Nolde, Mie Prefectural Art Museum, Tsu City
1996
Emil Nolde--Christian Rohlfs, Galerie St. Etienne New York
1995
Emil Nolde: The Painter's Prints, Boston Museum of Fine Arts Boston, MA
1991
Degenerate Art: The Fate of the Avant-Garde in Nazi GermaNew York, Los Angeles County Museum of Art Los Angeles, CA
1988
Emil Nolde in Berlin, Brücke Museum Berlin, Germany
1985
German Art of the 20th Century, Royal Academy of Art London, England
1980
Expressionism: A German Intuition, Guggenheim Museum New York, NY
1963
Emil Nolde, Museum of Modern Art New York, NY
1957
Emil Nolde: Memorial Exhibition, Kunstverein Hamburg
1948
Emil Nolde, Kestner-Gesellschaft Hanover
1948
Die Brücke, Kunsthalle Bern
1946
Emil Nolde, Hamburg
1939
(First American one-man show), Buchholz Gallery New York
1937
Degenerate Art, Circulated by Nazis
1931
German Painting and Sculpture, Museum of Modern Art New York, NY
1927
Emil Nolde, Dresden, Hamburg, Kiel, Essen, Wiesbaden
1912
Second exhibition of the Blaue Reiter, Munich, Germany
1912
Sonderbund Exhibition, Cologne, Germany
1908
Emil Nolde, Galerie Paul Cassirer Berlin, Germany
1905
Emil Nolde, Galerie Ernst Arnold Dresden, Germany
1905
Berlin Secession, Berlin, Germany