"EVENING LANDSCAPE IN NORTH FRIESLAND"
Signed 'Nolde' bottom right, watercolor on paper
Sheet size: 8 3/16 x 9 1/8 in. (20.8 x 23.2cm)
Private Collection, New York, New York.
M. Knoedler & Co., New York, New York.
Serge Sabarsky Gallery, New York, New York.
Private Collection, Ohio (acquired from the above in 1969).
By descent in the family.
Private Collection, Maryland.
"Friends Collect," Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1966.
Born Emil Hansen in the village of Nolde - an area in Northern Germany by the Southern Danish border, in the Prussian Duchy of Schleswig - Emil Nolde was one of the most important German Expressionist painters and printmakers of the 20th century. In 1906, he became a member of the Expressionist group 'Die Brucke,' a bohemian collective of artists opposed to the established bourgeois social order in Germany and who sought to express authentic emotion by practicing an expressive, avant-garde style of art characterized by a direct approach to form and heightened color. Twelve years later, Nolde exhibited with the Munich based group 'Der Blaue Reiter,' a stylistically abstract counterpart to Die Brucke's figurative style. Der Blaue Reiter artists, of which Nolde was not formally a member but rather a kindred spirit, sought to convey spirituality in their art. Nolde was also a member of the 'Berlin Secession,' a group of over sixty artists who rejected the then prevalent view of academic art in Berlin in the 1890s, and who thus seceded from the very well-established Association of Berlin Artists. It should be noted, however, that Nolde's association with these art movements was short-lived; throughout his career he remained a very solitary artist, who very much refrained from committing himself to any one organization or movement.
In addition to his powerful and primitive woodcuts, Nolde is arguably best known for his watercolors which, like the present work, are rendered in a loose, spontaneous and expressive style. These are often executed without contours and on either non-absorbent or even wet paper, and in rich, vivid colors. Nolde is known to have assigned a symbolic quality to the colors he chose. He said: "Every color holds within it a soul, which makes me happy or repels me, and which acts as a stimulus. To a person who has no art in him, colors are colors, tones tones... and that is all." While Nolde was awarded the prestigious Order of Merit following World War II, during the war he was declared by the Nazis to be a "degenerate" modern artist, and over one thousand of his works were removed from museums at that time. In 1941, the Nazi party banned him from painting. Nonetheless, during this period Nolde executed more than one thousand small watercolors, known as his 'ungemalte bilder' or "unfinished paintings," small works done in watercolor applied directly on wet paper.
Sold for $143,750 (buyer's premium included)