Signed bottom left, watercolor on Japan.
Executed circa 1930.
15 x 17 3/4 in. (38.1 x 43.8cm)
Elsa Koppel, Bochum, Germany (acquired directly from the above circa 1930).
By family descent.
Private Collection, Washington, D.C. (acquired in 1965).
By family descent.
Private Collection, Needham, Massachusetts (acquired in 2017).
This lot is accompanied by a photo-certificate of authenticity signed by Professor Dr. Manfred Reuther and dated 14 März 2018.
Expressionist painter Emil Nolde first began to explore watercolor in the 1890s while attempting to capture the fleeting beauty of a vibrant red sunrise in his native Germany. His subsequent experimentation with the medium played a significant role in the development of his artistic identity, as it allowed for the intense use of color and gestural impasto which have come to define his style. He preferred using absorbent Japan paper, which he moistened slightly before saturating it with paint-soaked brushes, applied with varying degrees of pressure. As a result, the colors would blossom on the paper, overlapping with each other and revealing luminous depth, subtle transitions and nuanced tones. In the words of his wife, “when painting, he is lavish with his watercolors. He is little troubled if splotches fall from his brush…I have often marveled at how reckless he is with the wet brushes, even though he could fear at any moment one of the threatening drips might fall… he takes that danger in his stride and accordingly is free to work in a rush, with no inhibitions…”After decades of such exploration and experimentation with the medium, painting with watercolor developed into what the artist referred to as an ‘inner need.’ The spontaneous and fluid nature of the medium allowed him to explore his natural impulses and instinctive creativity. He would start each painting without any preliminary drawings, and instead yielded to the organic inspiration of his imagination. “I like to avoid all prior contemplation (...) The product emerges through the work of our hands,” he wrote.These two intensely colored works are representative of the artist’s fascination with the natural world and are fine examples of his most revisited themes: seascapes and still lifes. Nolde painted the Fisherman on a Lake around the years 1925 - 1930, likely during a journey to Switzerland. Nolde preferred to work directly from the natural environment, often choosing to venture out in all weather in order to experience first-hand the natural forces of his immediate surroundings, thus imbuing his paintings with an inherent and visceral energy. Nolde’s landscapes are said to be expressions of his 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. Nolde executed Bowl of Flowers with Fuchsia around the year 1930. The flowers shown in this composition were likely arranged by his wife Ada at their home in at Seebüll where they cultivated lush gardens. Full of radiant color and vitality, the artist’s emotional preoccupation with nature is evident here. For Nolde, flowers were a symbol of happiness, and painting them provided solace from the anxieties of his political realities, transporting him into a vibrant world of color.1. S. Koja, “A Notion Solely of Radiance and Color,” in Emil Nolde: In Radiance and Color, ed. A. Husslein-Arco and S. Koja (Munich: Hirmer, 2013), 223.2. E Nolde, Watercolors and Graphics, (New York & Leipzig: 1995), p. 19.3. W. Haftmann, Emil Nolde: Unpainted Pictures, (New York: Praeger, 1965).
About The Artist: