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L.I.S.A. Redaktion | 04/17/2019 | 1292 Views | 1 | Movies by the Gerda Henkel Foundation |

Emil Nolde and National Socialism: An Artist's Myth in the Twentieth Century

Artist and Artist's Image: Sources of Self-Stylisation | Episode 2

Emil Nolde was aware that after 1945 both his sympathy with Nazism and his publicly expressed anti-Semitic statements – about Max Liebermann, for example, and an art scene ostensibly dominated by Jews – would considerably damage his reputation as a ground-breaking modern artist. After the system had collapsed, he therefore took great pains to present himself as a victim of the Nazi regime and to furnish himself with a clean slate. Dr. Bernhard Fulda, a historian at the University of Cambridge, is using previously inaccessible source material to reveal exactly what Nolde did to achieve this.



Audio stream of the video

The project 
This project will comprehensively appraise Emil Nolde’s relationship with Nazism for the first time, simultaneously connecting it to the history of Nolde’s reception, particularly after 1945. It will be the first study to be able to evaluate the rich source material, within the above context, from the Seebüll Ada and Emil Nolde Foundation, thus shedding light on the role played by the foundation in communicating Nolde’s art and his person. Despite the fact that Nolde’s sympathy with Nazism remained unbroken right up until 1945, after the War Nolde became the very personification of the persecuted artist. Alongside the Nolde Foundation in Seebüll, an important factor here was the missionary zeal and cultural patriotism demonstrated by influential museum directors such as Carl Georg Heise, Alfred Hentzen and Werner Haftmann, along with the specific media dynamics and the conventions in reporting on art in post-War Germany. To the above end, the project will investigate museum policies, exhibition practices, presentation strategies and the reception of exhibitions, and will place the latter in the wider context that was the competing systems during the Cold War and the process of coming to terms with Germany’s cultural past.



Project management
Dr. Bernhard Fulda

Hasso Bräuer

Maximilian Schecker

Maximilian Schecker

Series created by
Gisela Graichen and Peter Prestel


All episodes
Image and Context
Episode 1
Artist and Artist's Image: Sources of Self-Stylisation
Episode 2
Artist and Posterity: Stylisation and Myth-Making
Episode 3
The General Interview with Dr Bernhard Fulda
Episode 4


by Jörg Merz | 19.05.2019 | 00:53
Sehr geehrter Herr Fulda, sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,

mit großem Interesse habe ich die Folgen über Nolde und den Nationalsozialismus gehört und gesehen. Die Selbst- und Fremdstilisierungen eines (bedeutenden) Künstlers sind keine isolierten Phänomene. Noch wirkungsvoller kommen sie bei Picasso zum Ausdruck. Ich erlaube mir, dazu auf meine Studie "Guernica oder Picassos Abscheu vor der militärischen Kaste" (Freiburg 2017) hinzuweisen.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen
Jörg Merz

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