Painter, lithographer, commercial artist, woodcarver, sculptor, flower painter, still-life painter and writer
Hans Emil Hansen was born in Nolde in 1867. In 1884 he began training as a wood sculptor and draughtsman in Flensburg. Beginning in 1892 he was employed as a drawing teacher at the Industrie- und Gewerbemuseum, a museum of industry and crafts, in St Gallen. Nolde produced his first painting in 1895, and a series of postcards also produced at this time became a profitable business. In 1897 he moved to Munich as a freelance artist. He attended private painting schools there and in Dachau, and travelled to Paris, where he studied the old masters in the Louvre and became acquainted with Impressionism. He then proceeded to Copenhagen, where he met Vilhelm Hammershøi. In 1902 he changed his name to Nolde after his birthplace. In 1906 he briefly joined the artists’ group the Brücke, and in the following year he became acquainted with Edvard Munch in Berlin. In 1908 he joined the Berlin Secession, but resigned two years later after a set-to with Max Liebermann; he became a member of the New Secession instead. In 1913 Nolde journeyed to the South Seas, and in 1926 he moved to Seebüll. He had joined the Nationalsozialistische Arbeitsgemeinschaft Nordschleswig, a National Socialist organisation in the part of Denmark bordering Germany, in 1934, but during the National Socialist campaign against “degenerate art” in 1937 a full 1,102 of his works were confiscated, and a short time later he was banned from painting, exhibiting and selling anything. Between 1938 and 1945 he secretly created his Unpainted Pictures. In 1950 he was awarded the graphics prize at the 25th Venice Biennale. Nolde died in Seebüll in 1956.