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Emil Nolde

Young Frisian Girl

watercolour on Japan paper
1925-1930
46,9 x 34,2 cm / 18 1/8 x 13 3/8 in.
signed lower left

Emil Nolde not only displayed landscape, houses and nature of his northern Germany homeland in his works to catch an expression of the special moods he found there. He also repeatedly portrayed the people of Frisia, from his painting of a “Young Frisian Girl” of 1913 until his 1937 painting of “Frisian Children”. His particular interest was not to show an individual person, but a symbolical depiction of kind of a resemblance, a reverberation of the fresh, light and clear character of the country between the sky and the sea in the physiology of the indigenous people – something Nolde explored in an analogous way during his South Sea voyage. This correspondence is clearly visible in the watercolour of a young Frisian girl, completely dominated by the three colours blue, yellow and white. The girl is characterized as Frisian not only by her physiognomic appearance with her blonde hair and bright, slightly rose skin, but also by the cultural attribute of her scarcely indicated costume. This work is an outstanding example of Nolde’s mastery of watercolour technique as there are no outlines defining the profile of the face or the bust of the girl, but only a few dark dots accentuating the free floating shapes of colour.

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