My all-time favourite artist!

watercolour by Emil Nolde

Holy Saints – my all-time favourite artist is having a show in the National Gallery of Ireland this year.  Perhaps I was young and impressionable but, when I was in art college, I came across this guy and – Bam! – I was captured.

Emil Nolde – he was a German Expressionist painter. His art was labelled ‘degenerate’ by the Nazis (along with most German avant-garde painters of the time). This meant that he was forbidden to exhibit his work – or even to paint at all.

But he decided to continue in secret (using watercolours – because they were odourless and easier to conceal) and it is these watercolours that I just love.

painting of two women in a garden b Emil Nolde

Now, you mightn’t have heard of Emil Nolde and, if you only knew the one painting that’s on show in the National Gallery (the one above), I wouldn’t blame you for not getting too excited but  – what about the other paintings in this blog post?

Have you ever seen watercolour paintings like these below?  Might one possibly say that they were orphic ? (!)

watercolour by Emil Nolde


watercolour by Emil Nolde 3


watercolour by Emil Nolde

The exhibition entitled: “Colour is Life” will feature paintings, drawings, etchings and woodcuts… scenes of Berlin café culture, views of the River Elbe, studies made during travels to the South Seas, portraits, flower paintings and imaginative depictions of fantastical creatures in both oils and watercolours.

To be honest with you, I’m a bit concerned about the ‘fantastical creatures’ and stuff. I love the watercolours but some of that other work… he seems to have a penchant for yellow faces and grotesque figures. Ah well, that’s the German Expressionists for you. Not for the faint-hearted, I suppose.

wood cut of The Prophet by Emil Nolde

And many of his works have religious themes. Here’s a woodcut print he did in 1912 entitled: ‘The Prophet’. I don’t know if this will be included in the exhibition. Indeed, I don’t know if any of the above works will be on show. Touch wood. All the works are on loan from the Nolde Foundation in Seebüll, Germany.

The exhibition runs from the 14th of February until the 10th of June 2018. It is curated by Janet McLean and Seán Rainbird of the National Gallery of Ireland, with Keith Hartley of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.

PS: who is your all-time favourite artist?  Leave a comment down below




  1. I’ve heard of Emil Nolde as he comes from the German/Danish region we go on holidays to (Schleswig). Every year I plan to go to his museum in Seebull, but there’s never enough time… You are very lucky they are bringing the paintings your way. I’ve seen (and fell in love with) his flowers, the watercolours were a surprise to me. Well, I’ll have to make sure I do go to see his artwork next trip, especially as I’ve just discovered that visitors are invited to see the original Emil’s and Ada’s garden. K.

    P.S. As for the all time favourite artist… hmm… I haven’t got a clue.


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