Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza - Inicio

Versión española

Buy tickets

Masterworks from Budapest. From the Renaissance to the Avant-Garde

From 18 February to 28 May 2017

Lucas Cranach, the Elder
Salome with the Head of Saint John the Baptist, ca. 1526-1530
Oil on panel. 88.4 x 58.3 cm
Budapest, Museum of Fine Arts
  • Home
  • Glowing Sunflowers

Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection

Emil Nolde
Glowing Sunflowers
Oil on canvas
88.5 x 67.3 cm
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid
Numero de inventario
INV. Nr. 692 (1973.67)

More information about this work

In addition to a great landscape artist, Emil Nolde was an important flower painter. His pictures of sunflowers, on which he concentrated for over a decade, link him directly to Van Gogh, an artist whom Nolde admired throughout his lifetime. Nolde began to paint a long series on sunflowers at Utenwarf in 1926, shortly before moving to Seebüll. As Peter Selz has pointed out, at his houses in both locations Nolde cultivated leafy gardens that he used as models for his oil and watercolour paintings during the last thirty years of his life. The flowerbeds — planted with sunflowers, roses, poppies and camellias — formed the initials “A” and “E” or Ada and Emil in an odd combination of petit bourgeois taste and thirst for originality.

According to the artist’s handwritten list, the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza Glowing Sunflowers was painted in 1936, a year in which Nolde’s career was beginning to run into difficulties: following the consolidation of the National Socialist regime, his works were starting to be withdrawn from German museums, and many would be included in the exhibitions devoted to what was considered degenerate art.

In the present painting Nolde provides a frontal view of half a dozen or so sunflowers with exuberant colouring, concentrating on their petals, pistils and leaves and omitting any reference to the soil or flowerbed in which they grow. Their slightly bowed heads suggest that they will soon lose their strength and become doubled over from the weight of the seeds until they are no longer able to support them. Nolde seeks to convey his own emotions by depicting flowers like these: “I adore flowers and their destiny, they grow rapidly, bud, bloom, glow, show their joy, sag, wither and die.”

The first owner of the work, the banker Friedrich Doehlemann, who possessed several of Nolde’s works, kept up a certain amount of correspondence with the artist. In addition to director of the Bayerische Gemeindebank, Doehlemann was president of the committee that helped finance the construction of the Haus der Kunst in Munich, the venue for the 1937 Entartete Kunst exhibition, which Nolde visited with Doehlemann himself during a trip to Munich that year.

Paloma Alarcó

Go to the shop

Recommended artists

Recommended works

© 2009 Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza

Paseo del Prado 8, 28014 Madrid, España

We use our own cookies and those of third-parties to analyze the use of our website and display personalized advertising. If you continue browsing, we will consider that you consented to its use. For more information see our Cookie Policy.