Although Nolde’s composition, Red Clouds, is very similar to most of his landscapes, the present work holds symbolic connotations and attests to the artist’s mastery at expressing his mood through painting. In addition, the hues Nolde achieves here using the watercolour medium have sometimes been likened to the wash paintings of the Far East.
Like many of Nolde’s late works, this watercolour is not documented, and although there is no doubt about its authorship, there is insufficient information to date it. Peter Vergo claims that the scenery represents Seebüll, in Northern Friesland, the painter’s last place of residence after leaving Utenwarf in 1927 and where the Stiftung Ada und Emil Nolde is located.
The work was acquired from the artist’s Estate by Dr Max Stern, a famous German psychiatrist who emigrated to the United States after the advent of the Nazi regime. In the 1950s he began collecting art from all periods, but especially German Expressionism. Baron Thyssen purchased Red Clouds from his widow, Liselotte Bendix Stern, in 1983.