Emil Nolde

German (1867 - 1956)
Emil Nolde Kopf [Head] 1913 © Nolde Stiftung Seebüll


Born 1867
Died 1956
Nationality German

Emil Hansen was born in Nolde, a town which is now on the Danish side of the Danish-German border. He changed his surname to Nolde when he was in his late thirties. Nolde's style was highly influential for younger expressionist painters such as Kirchner. He loved the art of primitive peoples but was also interested in creating a style of painting that was specifically German. From 1906 to 1908, he was a member of the Brücke group of expressionist artists, but he preferred on the whole not to be associated with a group.

Glossary terms

  • German Expressionist group that was based in Dresden, then Berlin, from 1903 to 1913. The name indicates a forward-looking approach, their art viewed as a bridge to the future. They are noted for their revival of the woodcut.

  • Or Entartete Kunst. Term coined in the 1930s by the Nazis in Germany to ridicule modern art that didn't fit with Hitler's vision. Exhibitions of such works confiscated from German museums were staged and German artists branded with the term were banned from exhibiting their work.

  • A style that made an impact in the arts in the 1920s, particularly in Germany. Expressionists deliberately abandoned realistic representation techniques in favour of exaggerations and distortions of line and colour that were intended to carry far greater emotional impact.