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Emil Nolde (1876-1956), Abschied (Parting), etching and aquatint (tonal effects), 1906, signed in pencil lower right. Reference: Schiefler/Mosel 20, third state (of 3). In excellent condition, on a thick cream/ivory wove paper with full margins, 6 1/2 x 4 15/16, the sheet 17 1/2 x 12 3/8 inches.
A fine, evocative impression, printed in dark brown ink. The composition was complete in the first state but in succeeding states Nolde strengthened the defining lines in critical areas such as the hands of the figure at the right.
Nolde’s method of achieving his “tonal effects” has never been satisfactorily explained. Schliefer observed that “they recall what is usually called aquatint, but differ in that any uniformity of tone is avoided. The etching ground is obviously laid on the different parts of the plate in differing depths so that the plate is exposed in one place sooner, in another later, to the action of the acid. Moreover the method of the laying on, whether it is with a bristly or a fine brush, a palette knife or the fingers, whether it is spread out or left in a mass, also has its effect and gives the tone sometimes a streaky or cloudy, sometimes a grainy or fleck-like character.”
This is an early print for Nolde (he became an artist at a rather late age), and was made in the year things started to work for him – in 1906 he was invited to join the Brucke in Dresden, his painting Erntetag caused a sensation at the Berlin Secession in the spring, and he met some of his most important patrons including Schiefler. He made a good number of etchings in this period, from 1904 to 1911, then another group in 1918 an 1922; there are hardly any after 1926.