“I want so much for my work to grow out of the material…”
Emil Nolde’s Painting Technique
- When: 02 + 03 December 2021
- Where: Online and in the Ernst von Siemens-Auditorium of the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich
- Lecture language: English
Emil Nolde (1867–1956) is one of the most well-known and important representatives of German Expressionism. His work captivates through both its expressivity and the brilliance of his palette. Throughout, Nolde plays with the countless possibilities of the application of paint and the use of colour. The Lecture Days will present the results of a collaborative research project, ongoing from 2018 to 2022, dedicated to the study of Emil Nolde’s painting techniques and materials. The partners in this interdisciplinary research project are the Doerner Institut of the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Munich, the Foundation Seebüll Ada und Emil Nolde in North Friesland and the Hamburger Kunsthalle in cooperation with the Universität Hamburg and the Hochschule der Bildenden Künste Dresden.
In two Lecture Days, the essential research results will be presented to an international audience of specialists in the field and opened up to discussion.
The Foundation Seebüll Ada und Emil Nolde, as the administrator of Nolde’s estate, and located in the artist’s onetime home and studio, houses the most comprehensive existing collection of his works, an archive comprising 25,000 documents, as well as an extensive collection of artefacts from his studio. For the first time, it has been possible to catalogue and evaluate the archive and Nolde’s studio paraphernalia from the perspective of his painting technique. Researchers have carried out technological investigations of 45 paintings, from the three collections in Seebüll, Hamburg, and Munich, using a broad spectrum of material analysis and imaging techniques in search of both visible and invisible traces of the painting process. Particular importance was given to understanding the artist’s various work phases and to a collaborative investigatory approach by the art historians, painting conservators, and natural scientists.
Throughout his life, Emil Nolde’s painting technique was highly varied, and his handling of materials and colour was characterized by an impressive degree of technical prowess. The range of lecture themes will amply illustrate this, highlighting for example his sometimes unique utilization of painting supports and their frequent preparation with coloured grounds, his complex, often multi-level pictorial composition, and his use of a large assortment of painting techniques and tools. Late-work examples of medial transfer in various techniques, especially from watercolour into oil, will be presented. Also on the agenda is a discussion of Emil Nolde’s thirty-year-long preference for the oil and resin-based oil paint of the now largely forgotten company of Fritz Behrendt. Special attention will be given to Nolde’s numerous changes of format and reworkings of his paintings – sometimes even decades after these had been finished.
Participation in the Lecture Days is possible online as well as on location, with a limited attendance, at the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich. The lectures will remain available for the participants after the event as well, up until 10 December 2022.
Website Lecture Days (registration, programme)
The project and the event have been made possible by the generous support of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), under the auspices of the funding program “The Language of Objects – Material Culture in the Context of Societal Developments.”