Dr. Manfred Reuther from the Nolde Stiftung, Seebuell, has confirmed the authenticity of this watercolor.
The present beautifully preserved watercolor is a typically intense Expressionist landscape that Nolde painted between 1920 and 1925. Drenched in fiery colors, it is a work that speaks powerfully of the union of man, landscape and the elements.
Although Nolde rarely painted an imaginary landscape, preferring to draw directly from the windswept countryside of the Danish borderlands where he spent most of his life, his landscape paintings, rooted in "the primal depths" of his artistic identity, "far down and close to home," as he put it, are far more than mere literal depictions of his immediate surroundings. In the same way that he identified himself with the landscape of his North Schleswig heimat, Nolde also sought through his art, like Van Gogh before him, to commune with and give expression to the primal and eternal, elemental forces at work within nature. To this end, Nolde chose to work directly from the natural environment, often venturing out into the fields in all weathers in order to experience at first hand the natural forces of his immediate surroundings, to feel them, and thereby be able to intuitively transmit their energy and vibration onto canvas.
"In the city," Nolde wrote, "one pays little attention to the occurrences of nature. Its drama is not experienced. It is different in the flat countryside" (quoted in Emil Nolde: Mein Garten voller Blumen, exh. cat., Nolde Stiftung, Seebuell, 2009, p. 73). Nolde often imbued his landscapes with an undisguised symbolic significance, using the feverish energy of radiant burning sunset skies, shimmering seas and windswept marshes as clear metaphors for the power of nature and the eternal confrontation between man in his natural state and the elements. He did paint however, as Peter Vergo has pointed out, "what must be considered to some extent idealized views, seeking to represent the essential character of his surroundings as opposed to their merely external aspect, the fickle and deceptive face of natural appearances" (Emil Nolde, exh. cat., London, 1996, p. 128).
Always maintaining a certain degree of faithfulness to outward appearance, Nolde's landscapes are nonetheless largely abstracted expressions of the artist's own emotions. They are an attempt at transmitting, not just the visual sensation of the landscape before him but also the physical and emotional effect this environment instills in man. "I loved the collaboration with nature, being bound up in nature, painter, reality, picture" (E. Nolde, Jahre der Kämpfe 1902-1914, Cologne, 1991, p. 90).