The artist was born as Emil Hansen near the German-Danish border, but he later adopted the name of his hometown, Nolde. His attachment to the bucolic region is evident in his many affectionate paintings of the Schleswigian countryside. Vibrant sunflowers crowd the composition, pulsating with life through the use of expressionistic brushstrokes.
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Inscription: Signed (lower right corner): Emil Nolde
the artist (1928–44; on loan to the Museum Folkwang, Essen until confiscated on August 25, 1937 as "degenerate art" by the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, Berlin, EK inv. no. 3670; consigned on June 3, 1939 to Karl Buchholz, Berlin; returned in 1939 to the artist; sold by the artist in July 1944 to Sprengel); Bernhard Sprengel, Hannover (1944–49; sold in 1949 to Vömel); [Galerie Vömel, Düsseldorf, from 1949]; private collection, Germany; [Kleemann Galleries, New York and Curt Valentin Gallery, New York, owned jointly until 1955; stock no. K5106; sold by Kleeman in 1955 to Roman Norbert Ketterer, of Stuttgarter Kunstkabinett]; (sale, Stuttgarter Kunstkabinett, Stuttgart, May 24–27, 1955, no. 1778, as "Grosse Sonnenblumen I," sold to Reinemann); Walter J. Reinemann, New York (1955–d. 1970; his bequest to MMA)
Museum Folkwang, Essen. "Garten und Blume in der bildenden Kunst," June 29–August 31, 1929, no. 167 (as "Sonnenblumen") [listed for sale].
Oslo. Kunstnernes Hus. "Nyere Tysk Kunst: Maleri og Skulptur," January 1932, no. 136 (as "Solsikker").
Hannover. Sprengel Factory. "Nolde-Sammlung," November 1945, no catalogue [see Ref. Krempel 1999, pp. 74, 275, 302].
New York. Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. "Exhibition of Contemporary Religious Art," November 18, 1976–January 2, 1977, unnumbered cat. (as "Large Sunflowers I").
London. Whitechapel Art Gallery. "Emil Nolde," December 8, 1995–February 25, 1996, unnumbered cat. (p. 126; as "Large Sunflowers [I]").
Paris. Galeries nationales du Grand Palais. "Emil Nolde," September 25, 2008–January 19, 2009, no. 124 (as "Grands tournesols I [Hohe Sonnenblumen I]").
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