Painted in 1937.
Max Lütze, Berlin and Hamburg (by 1937)
Erna Lütze, Hamburg (by 1968 and thence by descent)
Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie, Sammlung Lütze, 1972
Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie, 1972-2003 (on long-term loan)
Martin Urban, Emil Nolde. Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil-Paintings, Volume Two 1915-1951, London, 1990, no. 1177, illustrated p. 466
Weisse und rote Dahlien is a remarkable example from Nolde’s series of flower paintings from the 1930s. The artist painted his first flower painting in 1906 and from then the subject became a predominant theme throughout his artistic career. Like Claude Monet, who never tired of depicting the gardens at his home in Giverny, Nolde took great pleasure from the flower gardens around his homes. As Manfred Reuther noted, “Wherever Nolde lived, he tried to reshape his surroundings and to create flower gardens; in Alsen, at his house at Utenwarf by the North Sea, and later… at Seebüll. He longed for a life in harmony with nature, to which he had felt so close and unbroken an affinity since early childhood” (Manfred Reuther, “Nolde and Seebüll," Emil Nolde (exhibition catalogue), The Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 1995, p. 69).
Both his intensive preoccupation with this theme and his emphasis on color undoubtedly reflect a continuing interest in the art of Van Gogh. The strong, primary color tones and the bold brushstrokes in the present work demonstrate a reference to the great Dutch Post-Impressionist. At the same time this work presents a powerful example of Nolde’s admiration of the beauty of nature and his emphasis on color as the most important means of expression. As he himself once said, “The blossoming colors of the flowers and the purity of those colors – I loved them. I loved the flowers and their fate: shooting up, blooming, radiating, glowing, gladdening, bending, wilting, throwing away and dying” (quoted in Peter Selz, Emil Nolde (exhibition catalogue), The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1963, p. 49).
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