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Emil Nolde

Red Flowers and Shrubs with Blue Blossoms

watercolour on Japan paper
1923/24
35 x 48,5 cm / 13 3/4 x 19 1/8 in.
signed lower right verso old collection stamp of the Nolde Stiftung

During the 1920s, Ada and Emil Nolde spent the summer in Utenwarf, from 1928 on in Seebüll. But the winter months were spent in Berlin, where they enjoyed visiting the theatre and cabarets. From the apartment and studio in Tauentzienstrasse, in the winter of 1923/24 Nolde visited the nearby Zoological Garden and the Botanical Garden. In the second volume of his autobiography ("Jahre der Kämpfe", 1902 – 1914), Nolde wrote about moving into the Tauentzienstrasse in 1910. The large window “faced the gardens. From time to time . . we heard the wild birds screech and the predators roar from the zoo." During that winter he created a group of watercolours of exotic animals and plants, like the ones he had seen and painted some years before in the South Seas. An exact identification of the flowers represented here is not possible. To the artist himself, the botanical identification and names of the flowers and plants he painted was negligible, even uninteresting. When a museum director wanted to know more about the flowers in another watercolour, Nolde wrote to him on May 3, 1950: …“what the small orange blooms on the right are called, I don’t even know myself. The names were always less important to me than the flowers themselves".

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