Bauernrosen und rudbeckien signed 'Nolde' (lower right) watercolor on paper 14 1/8 x 18 1/8in. (35.7 x 46.1cm) Painted in 1950
PROVENANCE Galerie R.N. Ketterer, Campione d'Italia (by 1967). Alfred and Hanna Fromm, San Francisco. By descent from the above to the present owner.
EXHIBITED Campione d'Italia, R.N. Ketterer, Moderne Kunst IV, Luganersee, 1967, no.110, S.142.
Dr. Martin Urban from the Ada and Emil Nolde Stiftung in Seebüll has kindly confirmed the authenticity of this work.
- Hanna and Alfred Fromm were dedicated philanthropists who brought their talents to numerous organizations in the San Francisco area. The Fromm Institute for Lifelong Learning at the University of San Francisco was established by the Fromms as a pioneering organization that seeks to help people in their latter years to obtain higher education. Additionally, Alfred Fromm was a fourth generation winemaker and helped establish Fromm & Sichel Inc., and later took over the Paul Masson Vineyards in Saratoga, California. Mr. Fromm founded the Wine Museum in San Francisco as well as the Jewish Community Museum. -
During his childhood, Emil Nolde frequently assisted his mother in the garden on his family's farm. Here he found himself drawn to the colors and delicacy of flowers and seasonal blooms and began to paint what he observed. Reveling in the purity of the vibrant pigmentation, Nolde developed an intrinsic relationship with natural life and the beauty of the everyday.
Having developed his artistic career as well as his relationship with collector Gustav Schiefler, Nolde started to experiment with color when he created his first flower paintings in 1906. Working primarily in ink, these works were integral to his progression as an artist as they encouraged an introduction of color and fluidity into his compositions.
When his artwork was condemned as 'degenerate' by the Nazi regime, Nolde painted hundreds of watercolors in secret, which he referred to as the 'Unpainted Pictures'. Rendered between the years 1938 and 1945, he created a vast oeuvre exhibiting his revelations as a painter. His watercolors acted as 'colored sketches' while the blurred and spotted edges soon became defining characteristics of Nolde's style. His incorporation of the natural running and bleeding of the watercolor enlivened his imagery so much so that the romanticism, passion, anxiety, and melancholy of his own inner psychology became tangible.
In the present lot, the robust red and yellow peonies in the foreground contrast the delicate rudbeckias (black-eyed Susans). The use of watercolor enhances the liveliness in each blossom, projecting both beauty as well as a sense of time and movement. These flowers serve as symbols of joie de vivre as well as reminders of fate. Aesthetically, the flowers are bold and courageous, expressing the potential of form, color and volume. Nolde paints revealing his innermost truth, finding himself gravitating toward the natural world with its inherent parallels with human fate.