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German History in Documents and Images
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Emil Nolde, Family (1917)
Emil Nolde (1867-1956) was one of Germany’s leading Expressionist painters. Born Emil Hansen, he changed his last name to Nolde, after his hometown in Schleswig. His membership in the artistic group Die Brücke (The Bridge) was short-lived, as his artistic priorities differed somewhat from those of the group’s other members, who were younger and less established. Nolde is perhaps best-known for his so-called primitive works, such as Family (below), one of the woodcuts he executed after returning from a trip to the South Seas in 1913-14. Influenced by the simplicity and strong lines of African, Asian, and “tribal” art, Nolde’s work illustrates how European colonialism influenced artistic sensibilities.