Emil Nolde * (Nolde, Schleswig 1867-1956 Seebüll) Frauenbildnis (Profil nach links)/ Frauenbildnis (rotbraun und grün), around 1930/35, signed Nolde, watercolor on japan paper, 47 x 34.7 cm, framed
Private Collection, Switzerland
The artist’s motifs, whether landscapes, flowers or portraits, are not to be understood as images of reality. Nolde uses color to express the experience of nature, a mood. Thus, Nolde’s women’s heads are not so much portraits, they are rarely identifiable persons, rather the artist has freely invented his heads. “Many may have been created from memory, lifting the individual into the general, the psychologically particular into a plane of poetic reality. Portraits of women are in the majority; important carrier of expression are colors”.
Martin Urban, in: exh. cat. Württembergischer Kunstverein, Emil Nolde, Stuttgart 1988, page 113
The present work shows a young woman with rosy cheeks and brown-red hair, wearing an orange dress, in lateral profile against a green background. Nolde merely sketches the silhouette of the striking woman. He applied the colours, using the wet-on-wet technique in a strong orange and green to thin japan paper. His emphasis on the face of the young woman exaggerates the luminosity of the colours and it becomes clear that the effect was his primary interest.