The Sea I

Emil Nolde (German, 1867-1956)
Oil on canvas 
29 x 35 in. (73.7 x 88.9 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Art Foundation 
Accession Number:
© Nolde Stiftung Seebüll 
On View

In the early 1910s Nolde painted a series of seascapes, pictures, as he described them, of “wildly heaving green waves,” inspired by a childhood on Germany’s North Sea coast and by one particularly violent crossing he had made as an adult. Among the exponents of German Expressionism—a term he found inadequate to the messianic mission of his art—Nolde was perhaps the most virtuosic painter. Here, for example, he conjured the foaming crests of waves with thick strokes of white paint, applied wet-into-wet, but rendered the fragile, billowing sailcloth with a transparent brown layer through which the texture of the canvas is plainly visible.


The artist, given for safe-keeping, 1941-45, to;
Margrit and Bernhard Sprengel, Hanover, returned to;
The artist, by descent to his nephew;
Emil Bonnichsen, Bylderup-Bov (Stemmilt), Denmark;
[Roman Norbert Ketterer, Lago di Lugano, Switzerland, sold 1969 to];
The Norton Simon Foundation (F.1969.16.3.P); sold 2000 to;
Norton Simon Art Foundation.

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