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Emil Nolde Biography


Born in 1867, Emil Nolde was a German-Danish painter. Of the early 20th century painters, he was one of the first to explore colour with oil painting and watercolour. His watercolours are best known for their brilliant floras and vivid, brooding storm-scapes. In 1884 when he realised farm life was not for him, he studied to become a carver and illustrator.

In 1889 he applied for the School of Applied Arts and in 1892 and 1898 he taught drawing at the school of the Museum of Industrial and Applied Arts. He was already 31 by the time he left his job to pursue a career as an independent artist. From 1898 to 1901 he took private painting lessons and in 1902 moved to Berlin with his Danish wife. He became a member of the revolutionary expressionist group Die Brucke of Dresden in 1906.

1908 to 1910 saw him being a member of the Berlin Secession and in 1912 he exhibited with Kandinsky’s Munich-based group Der Blaue Reiter. Nolde supported the Nazi party from the 1920s however his art was considered “degenerate art” and the Nazi regime officially condemned all his pieces and had them removed from museums. He was then ordered not to paint, even in private. After World War II Nolde was honoured by receiving the Pour le Merite.

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