Emil Hansen was born in Nolde, a town which is now on the Danish side of the Danish-German border. In his late thirties, he changed his surname to Nolde. His style was highly influential for younger expressionist painters such as Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Nolde was interested in art from the African continent, the Pacific and the Americas but also intent on creating a style of painting that was specifically German. From 1906 to 1908, he was a member of Die Brücke (The Bridge) group of expressionist artists, but he preferred on the whole not to be associated with a group.