Emil Nolde

Emil Nolde

Emil Nolde

Emil Nolde

Excerpt

Mellon. The manuscript was edited by Helen M. Franc and the book was designed by Mary Ahern and seen through the press by Françoise Boas. The bibliography was compiled by Inga Forslund and the index was prepared by Lucy Lippard. Therese Varveris has been responsible for the cataloguing of the exhibition and for all the details of correspondence in connection with both book and exhibition. Peter Selz Director of the Exbibition

Born in 1867, Emil Nolde was the exact contemporary of 2. Since he grew up on the periphery of the art world, he matured considerably later than his French contemporary; but like Bonnard, he became one of the pioneers of modern art. On the foundation of impressionism Nolde developed a symbolic language of tumultuous color which serves as the primary element in a newly structured picture space through which Nolde's figures move with eruptive anxiety. A pioneer in the early years of the century, Nolde -- like Bonnard -- did not continue his innovations after the advent of non-objective art and cubism, when leadership went to the more adventurous Kandinsky, born one year earlier, and to the much younger Picasso (born 1881).

Nolde adhered to the ground he had conquered during the pre-war period but constantly refined his position. The oldest of the German expressionists, his derivations reach back to the ancient phantoms of Northern myth, and his concerns reach out to the primitive arts of all cultures. His painting reflects the very rhythms of Northern existence, transformed by his unique sensitivity and the esthetic revolution of his own time.

Although primarily a colorist, he became one of the few truly great graphic artists of the twentieth century. Because he was a colorist above all, he endowed watercolor with new life and vitality and a sheer visual beauty which places him in the top rank of modern artists. In this medium, he relied on improvisation and expressive spontaneity, capturing his subject matter almost by accident in a manner suggestive of later more abstract painters.

Nolde gave rise to no school and had few direct followers, but his work became of central concern to a later generation of painters, those who might be called his grandsons. It is with this relevance in mind that the first major retrospective of Nolde's work in the United States is presented a half-century after some of his most important contributions. P. S. January 1963 . . .

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