Friday, December 26, 2008


German painter Emil Hansen, aka Emil Nolde, was born near the German-Danish border in 1867. He adopted the name of his birth town as his artist name at a later date. Nolde completed an apprenticeship as a furniture designer and wood carver in Flensburg between 1884 and 1888 and then worked for various furniture factories in Munich, Karlsruhe and Berlin.

Nolde finally moved to Munich after deciding to become a painter, but the academy under Franz von Stuck dismissed him. He joined Adolf Hölzel in Dachau in 1899 to become his pupil and went to Paris in 1900 to increase his knowledge at the Académie Julien. Nolde studied the Neo-Impressionists Vincent van Gogh, Edvard Munch and James Ensor. He was briefly part of the Berliner secession movement.

In 1933, Nolde was the only major German expressionist to join the Nazi Party. Exhibited at the first exposition of Great German Art in 1937, he was however defamed during WW2 by the Nazis who eventually decided his art was "degenerated" and banned from exhibiting since 1941. Nolde spent the years 1939 to 1945 in Seebüll painting his 'unpainted paintings', more than 1000 small watercolours, which he took on in his oil paintings after 1945. He died in 1956.

In his last years, primarily watercolours with flower and landscape motifs from the neighbourhood of his house in Seebüll, where Nolde died on 13 April 1956, came into existence.This picture, an oil on canvas, recently went on post-auction sale for 70,000 EUR / 99,400 $.

In 2007, the portrait of some woman called Nadja executed in 1919 was sold for $2.87 million (€2.15 million) at an auction held by Ketterer Kunst in Munich. The canvas, which most optimistic estimate had been just €1.8 million went to a well-known private collector residing in Germany.

Owned by Dr. Ernst Rathenau from 1920s, Nadja mysteriously disappeared between October 1977 and September 1979. An anonymous art collector found the canvas in the attic in one of the Berlin houses in late 2006 after the suicide of his daughter. She had been probably involved in Nadja’s disappearance.

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