"A terrific modern visionary"
Emil Nolde (1867-1956) was one of the greatest colourists of the twentieth century. While he was passionate about his north German home near the Danish border with its immense skies, flat, windswept landscapes and storm-tossed seas, he was equally fascinated by the demi-monde of Berlin’s cafés and cabarets, the busy to and fro of tugboats in the port of Hamburg and the myriad peoples and the places he saw on his trip to the South Seas in 1914. Nolde felt strongly about what he painted, identifying with his subjects in every brushstroke he made, heightening his colours and simplifying his shapes, so that we, the viewers, can also experience his emotional response to the world about him. This is what makes Nolde one of Germany’s greatest expressionist artists.
Please note this exhibition contains some material that visitors may find upsetting.
Emil Nolde was a German Expressionist painter and is acknowledged as one of the most influential German artists of the twentieth century. He was also a supporter of the Nazi party. We have included the painting ‘Martyrdom 1921’ in room 3 in order to show how Nolde expressed ideas that drew on long-standing anti-Semitic prejudices that would ultimately lead to the horrors of the Holocaust, which are still sadly evident today. We stress that we do not condone or excuse the artist’s political beliefs and anti-Semitic views in any way.
The National Galleries of Scotland are committed to promoting the values of equality and respect and to addressing the challenging issues that the history of twentieth century art opens up for contemporary audiences.
This exhibition, comprising about 100 paintings, drawings, watercolours and prints, drawn from the incomparable collection of the Emil Nolde Foundation in Seebüll (the artist’s former home in north Germany), covers Nolde’s complete career, from his early atmospheric paintings of his homeland right through to the intensely coloured, so-called ‘unpainted paintings’, works done on small pieces of paper during World War II, when Nolde was branded a ‘degenerate’ artist and forbidden to work as an artist.
This exhibition is organised by the National Galleries of Scotland in collaboration with the Nolde Stiftung Seebüll, and the National Gallery of Ireland.
Part of Edinburgh Art Festival.