Ernst Wilhelm Nay
(German, June 11, 1902–April 8, 1968) was born in Berlin. In the 1920s, he studied with Karl Hofer
(German, 1878–1955) at Hochschule der Künste in Berlin, where he was influence by the paintings of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
(German, 1880–1938) and Henri Matisse
(French, 1869–1954). Scholarships allowed Nay to pursue additional studies in Paris, Rome, and Norway. In 1937, after two of his works were shown in the exhibition of Degenerate art
, he was no longer allowed to paint. In 1940, Nay was drafted into the German army. During his stay in France, a French sculptor gave him access to his atelier. With strict secrecy, Nay began to paint again. He gained great recognition through his first American solo exhibition in 1955 at Kleeman Gallery in New York. His works were represented at Biennale di Venezia in 1948 and 1956, and at documenta exhibition I (1955), II (1959), and III (1964) in Kassel. Nay died in Cologne on April 8, 1968.