Emil Nolde (1867-1956)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A SWISS CHARITABLE FOUNDATION
Emil Nolde (1867-1956)


Emil Nolde (1867-1956)
signed 'Emil Nolde' (lower left); signed and titled 'Emil Nolde „Wolken"' (on the stretcher)
oil on canvas
24 x 18 1/8 in. (61 x 46 cm.)
Painted in 1918
Kunsthandlung Goldschmidt, Hamburg, circa 1930.
Anonymous sale, Kunsthaus Lempertz, Cologne, 23 November - 3 December 1964, lot 496.
Dr Lütten, Krefeld.
Alan Auslander Gallery, New York, by 1965.
Anonymous sale, Sotheby's, London, 29 November 1967, lot 102.
Galerie Wilhelm Grosshennig, Dusseldorf, by 1968.
Riklis Collection, New York, by 1970.
Anonymous sale, Sotheby's, London, 3 April 1974, lot 98.
Anonymous sale, Sotheby's, London, 2 July 1975, lot 72.
Arnold Saltzman, New York.
Anonymous sale, Ketterer, Munich, 23-24 May 1977, lot 1373.
Private collection, USA.
Private collection, Switzerland.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
M. Urban, Emil Nolde, Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil-Paintings, vol. II, 1915-1951, London, 1990, no. 815, p. 181 (illustrated).
Krefeld, Kaiser Wilhelm Museum, Expressionismus in Malerei und Plastik, December 1946 - January 1947, no. 146.
New York, Alan Auslander Gallery, The Expressive Image, March - April 1965 (illustrated).
Dusseldorf, Galerie Wilhelm Grosshennig, Ausstellung deutscher und französischer Meisterwerke des 20. Jahrhunderts: Gemälde, Plastik, Aquarelle, Handzeichnungen, November 1968 - January 1969, p. 34 (illustrated).
New York, Serge Sabarsky Gallery, Emil Nolde, July 1976.
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Anna Povejsilova
Anna Povejsilova

Lot Essay

Emil Nolde’s powerfully evocative depictions of the landscape are among his most celebrated works. With richly expressive and intense colour, Wolken, painted in 1918, is a broodingly dramatic vision of the expansive skies and broad terrain of the German landscape. Areas of bright yellow burst through the clouds rendered in deep, opulent shades of purple, the exaggerated colours creating an expressive image of the essential forces of nature, of the grandeur and majesty of the landscape for which Nolde had a profound connection.

Although Nolde travelled widely throughout his life, his deep love for the natural beauty of his homeland served as a constant and profound artistic inspiration. Lying between the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, the swathe of land on the German and Danish border where Nolde was born and where he lived for much of his life was, ‘like a fairy tale to me…my wonderland from sea to sea’ (Nolde, quoted in '"My Homeland was like a Fairy Tale to Me" – On Emil Nolde’s Landscape Paintings', in Emil Nolde, My Wonderland from Sea to Sea, exh. cat., Cologne, 2008, p. 43). Born Emil Hansen, the artist took the name of his birthplace, Nolde, as his surname, a demonstration of his profound and ardent love for this area of northern Germany which would remain a constant throughout his career, providing the impetus for his expressive vistas that burst with colour.

In 1916, two years before Wolken was painted, Nolde and his wife Ada had moved to Utenwarf in northern Germany, near to where the artist had been born. Nolde described his love of the evocative landscape of Utenwarf; ‘I longed for the open air – for the keen, strong beauty that the west coast has in such abundance, with its wide sweep of sky and its clouds above marsh and water, especially in the harsh seasons of the year’ (Nolde, quoted in Emil Nolde, exh. cat., London, 1995-96, p. 69). Prone to turbulent weather conditions, this location provided Nolde with spectacular visions of windy, storm-laden skies and dramatic light, such as can be seen in Wolken.

A composition of boldly expressive colour, Wolken demonstrates Nolde’s profound love of vivid, intense colour, and his skill as a colourist. The flat terrain and open, expansive sky is expressed with planes and patches of thickly applied, richly glowing colour. It was Nolde’s ‘tempests of colour’ (A. King, Emil Nolde, Artist of the Elements, London, 2013, p. 10) that had, in 1906, attracted the attention of German Expressionist group, Die Brücke. Though he remained a member of the Dresden-based group of artists for just one year, colour remained the central, evocative and most important force in Nolde’s art throughout the rest of his career.

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