Label Text: What story can we read in Emil Nolde’s self-portrait of 1910? The face is defined by shadow and bright light. A simple, plaid cap obscures the artist’s eyes, which burn with reproach—or maybe yearning. Could the young artist feel caught between despondency and determination, failures and successes, darkness and light?
At the time of this Self-Portrait, Nolde’s story was just beginning. As he found his unique style, he experienced some success, but also bitter rejections. Like other artists challenging artistic boundaries, and especially those attempting to work through the Nazi era, Nolde and his artistic vision would be alternately cast in shadow and light.