Emil Nolde was one of the leading painters of Expressionism and, along with August Macke and Paul Klee, was one of the first artists to rediscover watercolor painting in the early 20th century.
Above all, his expressive color choice and the improvisational lightness of his compositions are characteristic of his watercolors. So Emil Nolde 1934 reveals: "Color is power. Color is life. Only strong harmonies are weighty ", and:" I love the music of colors ... The colors are my notes, with which I form sounds and chords against each other. "
Especially since 1908 he devotes himself intensively to this technology, which has long been forgotten in Germany. Characteristic of his watercolor painting are the fast, high-contrast color application and the improvisational lightness of his compositions. From 1913 Nolde used mainly Japanese paper, which is based on his wet-in-wet technique. This novel watercolor technique was based on soaking moist Japanese paper entirely with water-flowing watercolors and first entering contours and reinforcements into the dried leaves. Most of the watercolors are created without preliminary drawing.
Jolanthe Nolde, the artist's second wife, says: "While painting, he generously deals with his watercolors. He cares little whether blobs fall from his brushes. (...) I often wondered how unconcerned he works with the wettest brushes, although at any moment he might fear that one would fall in the most threatening drops. (...) He accepts the danger and has the freedom to work in an unrestrained river. (...) I have often been worried about a particularly well-made line, in terms of how much it still changes. He paints, the paper absorbs the color, the colors flow, the borders grow, one believes that matter is self-contained - and yet the picture succeeds. It just flows out of his hand, including all the changes that happen without any help in the paper. The pictures happen; they unfold like guided and at the same time independent creatures. "
The stimulus to his first flower still lifes and garden pictures came in his own words from the gardens of his mother. Nolde grew up on the estate of his parents in northern Germany. Floral and garden motifs run almost throughout the entire pictorial work. Everywhere the painter settled, he put on gardens. When he chose his home in 1927 in the North Frisian Seebüll, he designed his own house and studio with garden. "It was just bare green fields around the house. A piece of such grass field should become our garden. A hard start, but it had to succeed. "
Sitting directly in front of the garden plants, Nolde made numerous watercolors. The painter describes as overwhelming the magic attraction that the colors and growth of flowers and plants exerted on him.
Especially in the depiction of plants Nolde reached his great creative freedom. The pulsation and growth becomes directly perceptible to the viewer. First in the home garden, later on the one-year trip to the South Seas, Nolde repeatedly discovered new facets and an unbridled fascination for the colors, shapes and characteristics of nature.
In terms of content and style, Emil Nolde's work is one of the most emotional expressions of Expressionism. From the beginning, his art was aimed at expressing expression by intensifying the color and gathering of the forms. Thematically, Emil Nolde dealt with religious representations, landscapes and seascapes with a cosmic conception of nature and figure representations that Emil Nolde designed out of a mystical experience. Of particular charm are his floral watercolors, the watercolor series of the "Ungemalten Bilder" and the graphic work.