barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham

Emil Nolde (1867-1956)


Berlin, 1912


49.5 x 36.5 cm; mount 73 x 59 cm


In this deliberately roughly-cut woodcut of an unnamed prophet, the thick hair and beard merge with the blackness of the background.

Nolde was a German-Danish painter and printmaker, who joined the Die Brücke group of Expressionist artists in 1906. He taught etching to his fellow members and they introduced him to woodcuts. In Prophet, Nolde exploits the characteristics inherent to the medium. Coarsely gouged-out areas, simplified forms and the textured grain of the wood effectively combine to portray the solemn face of a believer. Nolde was influenced by primitive art. This was considered to represent a ‘pure’ and autonomous form of art, the antithesis of the corruption associated with Western bourgeois society.

Purchased 1996 (No. 96.5)

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