Ernst Wilhelm Nay
oil on canvas
57,5 x 70,5 cm (22 5/8 x 27 3/4 in.)
signed and dated lower right verso on the stretcher inscribed '58' and dated and inscribed '58' on the canvas
With the beginning of National Socialist rule, Nay's life situation deteriorated considerably. His images were defamed as "degenerate". C. G. Heise the dismissed director of the museum in Lübeck – who became the director of the Hamburger Kunsthalle after the war – asked his friend Edvard Munch to financially support the stay of Nay in Norway. Munch agreed and Nay travelled to Norway in the summer of 1937, visited Munch in Skojen near Oslo and then travelled for three months to the Lofoten Islands, where he created large-sized watercolors. After his return to Berlin, he started to paint the so called “Lofoten-Bilder” in his studio. Nay’s stay in Norway had great significance for his artistic development and the qualities of his work prior to the Second World War came to full fruition: The bizarre formations of the mountains and fjords, the crystal clear light, the shadow-less shining colors of the far north and the primeval world of fishermen and whalers never failed to take effect on Nay. The almost always occurring people are dissolved into rhythmic-dynamic abstractions. As abstracted figures, they become expressive color signatures, whereby landscape and figure appear as equal elements of a chromatic image formation. Nay had developed an innovative pictorial structure during his time in Norway and the often energy-charged ecstatic rhythm and colour of these paintings revealed his affinity to music.