“Sometimes it seems to me that I am capable of absolutely nothing, but that nature through me can accomplish a great deal.” Emil Nolde
On August 7, 1867, Emil Nolde was born. His destiny was to be one of the first Expressionists, and a member of Die Bruckel (The Bridge), a group of German Expressionist artists formed in the city of Dresden in the year 1905; and a member of the Berlin Secession from 1908 to 1910. Known for his vibrant choice of colors – golden yellows and deep reds – Emil Nolde’s artistry has a lustrous appearance, even when his message was of a somber nature.
Emil Nolde challenges us with his art and political views (he was an ardent supporter Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist German Workers’ Party). It is easy to embrace artwork when it is created by someone who shares our belief systems. We connect a painting with the painter and his or her life story. Do we understand and value the reasons for the artist’s creative outflow?
When we feel dissonance, do we reject the artwork simply because we reject the opinions or actions of the artist?
We live within complexity. Perhaps the way to respond is to look deeper into the artist’s journey to gain perspective and appreciation. Check out this marvelous 5-minute video by the National Galleries of Scotland that highlights the work of Emil Nolde.