Emil Nolde - Bildnis eines Südseeinsulaners - image-1

Lot 102 D

Emil Nolde - Bildnis eines Südseeinsulaners

Auction 1177 - overview Cologne
17.06.2021, 18:00 - Modern/Contemporary Art - Evening Sale
Estimate: 40.000 € - 50.000 €
Result: 52.500 € (incl. premium)

Emil Nolde

Bildnis eines Südseeinsulaners

Watercolour and India ink on fine Japan laid paper, backed by fine linen (old) 47.5 x 34.5/35.2 cm Framed under glass. Signed 'Nolde.' in pencil lower right. - In fine condition.

In 1914 Emil Nolde took part in the “Medical-demographic German New Guinea Expedition”: his famous voyage to the South Pacific. His many portraits of natives from that time have a particularly penetrating effect due to of their unconditional concentration on the physiognomy of these people. In the likeness presented here, Nolde has also cut his image off directly under the man's necklace and reduced the background to a simple light grey. His expressive mouth has a severe quality, his eye sockets are completely in shadow and it seems as if we can identify a furrow in his brow. Although the obscured passage of the eyes results in a certain anonymising of the portrait's subject, Nolde achieves an individual and striking depiction of the character and mood of the man before him.
“As with many of his images of people, in the watercolours of the South Pacific, Nolde has concentrated on what he finds essential. […] Every decorative, compositional addition apparently seemed disruptive to Nolde and would have distracted from his actual purpose: capturing the essence of the primitive populace. The clarity produced by this almost prosaic reductivism now leads to a solemn, proud exclusiveness. […] With this hieratic effect, Nolde succeeded in visualising the primally powerful and divine aspect that he experienced in his encounter with the people of the South Pacific, with their close bond to nature” (Janina Dahlmanns, in: Emil Nolde in der Südsee, exh. cat. Brücke-Museum, Berlin 2002, p. 44).


With a photo-certificate by Manfred Reuther, Klockries, dated 29 March 2021. The work is registered and documented in his archive under no. "Nolde A - 197/2021".


Klipstein & Kornfeld, Bern, Auktion 99, 17/18 June 1960, Lot 700; Galerie Wilhelm Grosshennig, Düsseldorf (acquired there in 1961); Private possession, Rhineland


Düsseldorf 1961 (Galerie Grosshennig), Meisterwerke der Malerei und Plastik des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts, with illus. n. p.