One of the foremost German expressionist painters, whose masklike heads, contorted brushwork, and raw, strident colors were intended to give the viewer a visual and emotional shock. His original name was Emil Hansen. Nolde was influenced primarily by Vincent van Gogh, Edvard Munch, and James Ensor, whose tortured visions and color experiments he carried to new frontiers. A trip to New Guinea in 1913 and 1914 crystallized his taste for the qualities of tribal art, including brutal distortions of form, bold surface patterns, and contrasting colors. Nolde's style changed little throughout his career, and he concentrated principally on landscapes and on interior scenes with human figures. His landscapes, such as March (1916, Kunstmuseum, Basel), were brooding and ominous, and his peopled scenes, such as The Reveler (1919, Studtische Galerie, Hannover), present human faces as grotesque masks of crude basic emotions. In works such as the triptych Life of Maria Aegyptica (1912, Kunsthalle, Hamburg), Emil Nolde attempted to revive religious imagery in expressionistic treatments of New Testament scenes. He was denounced as a degenerate artist by the Nazis and forbidden to paint in 1941. Nolde then produced an important body of expressionist watercolors and engravings.
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