Emil Nolde (1867-1956)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF JOAN AND PRESTON ROBERT TISCH
Emil Nolde (1867-1956)

Iris und Stiefmütterchen

Emil Nolde (1867-1956)
Iris und Stiefmütterchen
signed 'Nolde.' (lower left); signed again and titled 'Emil Nolde: Iris und Stiefmütterchen.' (on the reverse)
oil on panel
28 3/4 x 34 1/2 in. (73.3 x 87.7 cm.)
Painted in Seebüll in 1929
Galerie Ferdinand Möller, Berlin.
Dr Haike, Berlin, by whom acquired from the above, in 1930.
Maria Haike-Larsen, Odense, Denmark, by descent from the above; sale, Hauswedell, Hamburg, 3 May 1958, lot 427.
Private collection, New York, by whom acquired at the above sale, and thence by descent; sale, Christie's, New York, 8 May 1991, lot 23.
Acquired at the above sale by the late owners.
The artist's handlist, 1930.
Art-Price Annual, 1957-1958, vol. XIII, London, 1957-1958, p. 385 (illustrated).
M. Urban, Emil Nolde: Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil-Paintings, vol. II, 1915-1951, London, 1990, no. 1078, pp. 385 & 623 (illustrated p. 385).

Berlin, Galerie Ferdinand Möller, Emil Nolde, February 1930, no. 18, p. 10.
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Keith Gill
Keith Gill

Lot Essay

Bursting with color and a powerful, vibrant energy, Emil Nolde’s 1929 composition Iris und Stiefmütterchen is a vivid expression of the artist’s deep and abiding reverence for the natural world, particularly the flowers and plants that surrounded him in his everyday life. Depicting the brightly hued spring blossoms of a group of carefully tended irises and violas, the painting was inspired by the striking abundance of the artist’s garden at Seebüll near the northern border of Germany, where he had moved to in 1927. Almost as soon as construction began on their new residence there, Nolde and his wife took it upon themselves to excavate a large area of marshland adjoining the house to serve as a flower garden, installing drainage channels and erecting high reed walls around the perimeter to protect against the wind and stormy weather that often lashed the area. Designed in the shape of their initials (A & E), the garden soon sprang to life and became a great source of pride for the Noldes, its brilliant array of blooms inspiring Emil’s art for the rest of his artistic career.

Flowers held an important symbolism for Nolde. They were intrinsically tied to the memories of his childhood home, where he could distinctly recall walking through the gardens with his mother at a young age while she tended to the plants, her delicate hands picking roses and shaving their sharp thorns away from their stems. They were also, to his mind, a vivid example of the eternal cycle of birth, life and death that underpinned nature. Entranced by their beauty, yet aware of their transience and ephemerality, Nolde saw these blooms as the romantic, almost tragic symbol of life itself: "The blossoming colours of the flowers and the purity of these colours; I loved them so very much. I loved the flowers in the context of their destiny: shooting up, blossoming, glowing, pleasing, sloping down, fading, and ending up cast in the pit. Our human destiny is not always as consequent or beautiful" (quoted in ibid., p. 24). Through his paintings of gardens, Nolde hoped to communicate a sense of this symbolic power to the viewer, using them as a channel for his own personal artistic expression.

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