Emil Nolde (1867 - 1956)

Lot 215: Emil Nolde, Der Jäger, 1918


December 2, 2016
Cologne, Germany

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Description: Signed 'Emil Nolde.' in blue upper right. Inscribed 'Emil Nolde: "Der Jäger." on the back of the stretcher upper left.In April of 1922, as documented by a letter from Emil Nolde, the painting “Der Jäger” was still in the possession of the Frankfurt gallerist Ludwig Schames, who was one of the most important dealers for Expressionism at that time. Schames had already been able to exhibit it in 1920 during a larger exhibition featuring works by Emil Nolde, including 35 paintings. In March of 1922 the gallerist once again showed paintings, and these were to be followed in April by a selection of Nolde's watercolours and graphic works (cf. Martin Urban, Emil Nolde, Werkverzeichnis der Gemälde, vol. 1, Munich 1987, p. 581). When a representative exhibition at Hanover's Kestner-Gesellschaft was planned for May and June of that year, Nolde wrote to Schames in early April regarding the intended selection of works. The 11 pieces that were to remain with Schames included the painting “Der Jäger”, which was evidently sold shortly thereafter to the Frankfurt architect Paul Paravicini. In May Nolde wrote from Utenwarf to the new owner: “It is a pleasure to know that the little painting of the 'hunter' is in your possession, Respectfully yours, Emil Nolde.” (cited from the document in the archive of the Nolde Stiftung Seebüll).Today “Der Jäger” - which Emil Nolde seems to mention somewhat offhandedly in the midst of those years' activities related to exhibitions and sales - appears to be one of his most expressive male portraits. As an Expressionist portrait it strikingly stands out thematically and aesthetically within his oeuvre; it is also important to emphasise the power and freshness of this image preserved through the decades in undamaged and original condition. It is distinguished not only by the expressive manner of its painting, its vitality and its personal addressing of the viewer, but also by its specific composition: the actual portrait is expanded to include background motifs that are surely not to be understood as purely aesthetic or chromatic arabesques. They symbolically invest the depicted individual with an extended, immaterial dimension that is also aimed at the sensibility of the viewer. We then recognise other aspects or values of the “hunter's” personality beyond the earthy robustness of his angular, masculine physiognomy: qualities of tranquillity, concentration and alertness, of sensitivity and a feeling for the beauties of nature - for its ephemeral transience as well as its inconceivable eternity, which feeds the human yearning for transcendence. The attributes of the portrait may stand for both: the flowers, which the artist himself loved so much and cultivated like no one else, and the goldenly shimmering figure of the Buddha, deliberately depicted in the background above the man's shoulder. This wooden figure was a part of Nolde's collection. “Thus, Nolde once more proves to be a master of ceremonies who sees his artistic ideal realised in the coexistence of the contrary: 'a man simultaneously primitive and civilised, [...] passionate and passionless, radiant life and silent calm.'” (Karsten Müller, Natur- und Kulturmensch zugleich: Florale Figurationen, in: Emil Nolde, Puppen, Masken und Idole, Ernst Barlach Haus Hamburg, 2012, p. 150).It is perhaps telling that the origins of Emil Nolde's impressive, intensely colourful portraits lay not least in his processing of the impressions from his journey to the South Seas and Russia. By 1914 a particular formal expressive scheme had already proved its effectiveness: Nolde overwhelms viewers through an unmediated frontality and focussing, often in the form of radical cropping and details. But he also knew how to apply variations. “Der Jäger” finds a place among masterpieces like “Herrenbild” of 1915 (Gustav Schiefler, Urban 715), the famous “Selbstbildnis” of 1917 (Urban 769) or the painting “Blonde Mädchen” of 1918 (Urban 826, now at the Kunsthalle Hamburg), which co
Dimensions: 68.5 x 48.5 cm
Artist or Maker: Emil Nolde
Medium: Oil on canvas Framed
Date: 1918
Condition Report: Old nailing, the stretcher with traces of colour. The left edge of the canvas has been cut and flush mounted to the wood on the front with nails. The other sides with canvas overlap, the lower one painted. - In fine, original condition.
Exhibited: Dresden (January) 1920 (Kunstausstellung Emil Richter), Emil Nolde, Gemälde, Aquarelle, Handzeichnungen, Radierungen, Holzschnitte, Lithographien, no. 26; Frankfurt (April-May) 1920 (Kunstsalon Ludwig Schames), Emil Nolde, no. 13; Frankfurt 1922 (Ludwig Schames)
Literature: Letters from Emil Nolde to Ludwig Schames, Frankfurt dated 6. IV.1922 and to Paul Paravicini, Frankfurt dated 9.V.1922, Archive Nolde Stiftung Seebülll
Provenance: Paul Paravicini, Frankfurt a. M. (1920/1921); private possession, South Germany (1950), in family possession since; private possession, Switzerland
Notes: Droit de suite according to conditions of sale
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Modern Art

December 2, 2016, 6:00 PM CET

Cologne, Germany

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