Couple, Emil Nolde
Emil Nolde
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Emil Nolde

Couple, 1931 – 1934

530 x 365 mm
Physical Description
Watercolour and pen and black ink on Japanese wove paper
Inventory Number
SG 2948
Object Number
SG 2948 Z
Not on display


About the Work

Between 1931 and 1935, Nolde carried out a series of watercolours he called "Fantasies". This workgroup contains numerous double portraits in the form of encounters between a woman and a man, as in the watercolour Couple. The artist composed the depiction from countless dabs and bands of colour intersecting and overlapping so densely as to develop an intense sense of depth. He also allowed chance to intervene in the painting process, for example by integrating the unintended splotches made by his paint-soaked brush at the upper right.

About the Acquisition

The important collection of Expressionist art owned by the chemist Carl Hagemann (1867-1940) was formed from the beginning of the twentieth century in close exchange with the artists - even during the period when they were being vilified by the National Socialists. After Hagemann's death in 1940, his collection was secretly evacuated together with the Städel's own collection to protect it from war damage. In gratitude for this hazardous but successful effort, Hagemann's heirs donated over 1000 prints and drawings to the Städel in 1948. Further generous donations were made over the course of several decades.

Work Data

Basic Information

Period Produced
Object Type
Physical Description
Watercolour and pen and black ink on Japanese wove paper
Geographic Reference
Production Reason
Label at the Time of Manufacture
Signiert unten rechts (mit der Feder in Schwarz): Nolde.
Captions Added Later
Verso unten links Stempel der Städtischen Galerie, Frankfurt am Main (Lugt 2371c), mit zugehöriger Inventarnummer
  • Nicht vorhanden

Property and Acquisition

Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Picture Copyright
© Stiftung Seebüll Ada und Emil Nolde

Work Content

Motifs and References

Main Motif


  • 61B112 anonymous historical persons portrayed in a double portrait
  • 61BB112 anonymous historical persons portrayed in a double portrait - BB - woman
  • 33 relations between individual persons

Research and Discussion


Object History
Emil Nolde
Verkauf an Carl Hagemann (1867-1940), Frankfurt am Main, 1934 oder später
Nachlass Carl Hagemann, 1940
erworben von der Städtischen Galerie, Frankfurt am Main, 1951.


Since 2001, the Städel Museum has systematically been researching the provenance of all objects that were acquired during the National Socialist period, or that changed owners or could have changed owners during those years. The basis for this research is the “Washington Declaration”, also known as the “Washington Conference Principles”, formulated at the 1998 “Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets” and the subsequent “Joint Declaration”.

The provenance information is based on the sources researched at the time they were published digitally. However, this information can change at any time when new sources are discovered. Provenance research is therefore a continuous process and one that is updated at regular intervals.

Ideally, the provenance information documents an object’s origins from the time it was created until the date when it found its way into the collection. It contains the following details, provided they are known:

  • the type of acquisition and/or the way the object changed hands
  • the owner's name and place of residence
  • the date on which it changed hands

The successive ownership records are separated from each other by a semicolon.

Gaps in the record of a provenance are indicated by the placeholder “…”. Unsupported information is listed in square brackets.

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