- Emil Nolde
Meer bei Abenddämmerung (The Sea at Dusk)
- Signed Nolde. (lower right)
- Watercolor on paper
The artist's studio
Marlborough Fine Art, London
Acquired from the above on March 10, 1964
Atlanta, High Museum of Art, on extended loan from 1987
Meer bei Abenddämmerung is a brilliant example of Nolde's unique mastery of the medium of watercolor. The artist himself acknowledged that he often found it easier to treat a particular subject, such as a landscape, in the medium of watercolor rather than that of oil paint: "With infinite labor I finally achieved that freer, broader and more fluent manner of depiction for which an especially thorough understanding and re-examination of the structure of the character of paper and the inherent possibilities of color are indispensable. But at the same time, it demands above all a capacity for developing the sensitivity of one's eye" (Emil Nolde, Reisen-Ächtung-Befreiung, Cologne, 1967, p. 27).
Nolde enhanced his technical and expertimental expertise of the medium with an incredible sensitivity to the creation of a harmonious color palette. In the present work, the artist creates a dialogue between a deep, sumptuous blue and an effusive yellow. This interplay reflects the transition from day into night which is further emphasized with a light red hue on the horizon line.
Nolde's singular vision of the sea led him to create some of the most stunning interpretations of this popular artistic subject. As Max Sauerlandt observed, "Nolde understands the sea like no other painter before him. He sees it not from the beach or from a boat but as it exists as itself... eternally in motion, ever changing, living out its life in and for itself: a divine, self-consuming, primal force that, in its untrammeled freedom, has existed unchanged since the very first day of creation..." (Max Sauerlandt, Emil Nolde, Munich, 1921, pp. 49-50).
Figure 1 The artist, Berlin, circa 1915