Emil Nolde’s Painting Technique

»I USUALLY PRIME WITH CHALK…« presents the results of an interdisciplinary research project on the Expressionist Emil Nolde (1867–1956), which the Hamburger Kunsthalle has been conducting since the autumn of 2018 together with the Doerner Institute of the Bayerische Staatsgemälde­sammlungen, Munich, and the Ada and Emil Nolde Foundation, Seebüll. Through an evaluation of the artist’s archive and studio estate, including extensive technological, imaging and material-analytical studies of well over 45 of Nolde’s paintings from the collections of the participating museums, Nolde’s working methods and materials were thoroughly researched. The exhibition shows the results on the basis of eleven paintings and for the first time provides an in-depth insight into Emil Nolde’s painting techniques, which are important for understanding his works. The presentation will be integrated into the tour of our collection of Modern Art.

Which materials did Nolde use and what did their specific character mean to him? How did he handle the brush? Did he use any further tools? The exhibition answers these questions, among others, and thus shows the influence of materials and working methods on the effect of the painting. At the beginning of the 20th century, Expressionist art led to a new approach to colours and forms, breaking with customary painting techniques. Known for his colourful flower paintings and landscapes, Nolde saw himself as a figure painter. Hamburg inspired him to create numerous works, and it was here that his importance was recognized at an early stage. The Kunsthalle’s commitment to the artist is demonstrated by the large Nolde collection of eleven paintings to date.

The aim of the current project is to expand the previous art-historical studies and recent research on Emil Nolde’s historical context to include the as yet unknown art-technological perspective. The Hamburg exhibition, together with presentations in Munich and Seebüll (both opening in 2022), marks the conclusion of the project. A comprehensive publication will be released for an interested public (spring 2022). The joint project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and is being realized in cooperation with the University of Hamburg and the Dresden University of Fine Arts.

Supported by: Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, Freunde der Kunsthalle e. V., Hamburger Sparkasse AG


Two times Nolde in Hamburg

At the same time, the Bucerius Kunst Forum presents the show Nolde and the North (16 October 2021 - 23 January 2022). This exhibition, mounted by Bucerius Kunst Forum in cooperation with the Nolde Stiftung Seebüll, examines the artist’s early work for the first time in relation to nordic art. Around 80 of the artist’s works, most of them produced between 1900 and 1902, are juxtaposed with paintings by his Nordic contemporaries, including Georg Nicolai Achen, Anna Ancher, Michael Ancher, Vilhelm Hammershøi, Peter Ilsted, Peder Severin Krøyer, Ejnar Nielsen and Laurits Andersen Ring.

A combined ticket for both exhibitions will soon be available via the Bucerius Kunst Forum online shop.


Augmented Reality Application on Emil Nolde's Painting Technique

»I usually prime with Chalk…«

Emil Nolde`s Painting Technique. »Eine Farbe verlangt eine andere«

Research Compendium (in German)
more information