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Emil Nolde

In the Wonderland

watercolour and Indian ink on Japan paper
47 x 34 cm / 18 1/2 x 13 3/4 in.
signed lower right

After works by Nolde had been included in the "Degenerate Art" exhibition of 1937, he had gone into an inner emigration. Later he was even forbidden to work. Watercolour was his preferred medium, since oil colours smelled too strongly. In the present work, the artist built up the scene in several layers, outlining the figures in black. He said about his fantasy figures: "My art is a rural art. It believes in all the human traits and in the creatures, which have long been disproved by science and are not to be found behind city walls any more." The brother of the first owner, sculptor Jean Sprenger, belonged to the art scene in Essen. He visited Emil Nolde in Seebüll and created a portrait of the painter in bronze. On October 9, 1951, W. H. Sprenger wrote to Nolde's secretary Joachim von Lepel in Seebüll: "... my brother brought me the beautiful Nolde watercolour". According to the Nolde-Stiftung, it is highly probable that he is referring to the present work.

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