Saturday, August 9, 2008

Emile Nolde

We had a terrific road trip today to Poplar Forest and Lynchburg - more on that in future posts.

But in this post I want to confess an arrogant stupid moment in my art student past, and publicly acknowledge my awe for a master.

When I was in college/art-school I frequently disagreed with my friend and fellow art student roommate. Actually we came to blows, finally, and parted - and I consider that to be my fault. I look back and can only describe myself as a prick.

One day he showed me Emile Nolde's work, in awe of his color sense and the luminosity. I detested them violently - because of the lack of control, the lack of obvious technique. May God, my old lost friend, and Emile Nolde forgive me. They are brilliant.

So on my day to myself, in the art library (where they had to throw me out at closing time), I gobbled up dozens and dozens of art folios and magazines, and shamelessly photographed pages that I know will inspire my work (like a spy photographing incriminating documents, surreptitiously). Three of those volumes were of Nolde's work, and the only reason I didn't take 50 photos of his work alone is that I already have dozens on my PC. Here are several of the magnificent little watercolors I found this time.

Persecuted by the Nazis for his "degenerate" art work, he painted in secret, on any scrap he could find, and using colors he begged, borrowed, or stole, because he could not get any materials legally.

I am so grateful that he persevered; it brings tears to my eyes.

>>>> Appendix de Grenouille #23 <<<<

On a different, topic, but also aesthetique, I wish to report that regarding the current body fad, Steve and I are of one accord. The masters of fashion have sold us all a poisson magnifique, in a white wine sauce, but delivered a stale goldfish cracker. To what are we referring? The current obsession with bones. Why do so many fashionable women au currant resemble mop handles? It is a return to the fashion of famine, a look we find tres jolie, tres charmant? It is a happy association with the American game played by bored children which is called hangman? Are curves criminal? How is it we wish women to remind us only of young girls or of boys? Are today's males not man enough to desire women? Oh it is well for some men to desire men, we do not contest this - and perhaps, if we felt as they do, we would protest the current fashion in males (boys?). But of those who claim to love las femmes, should it be said that they lacked courage to love as much woman as they could? Is it not more intoxicating to receive the experienced fragrant embrace of une femme voluptuous?

Au revoir,



susan said...

I've never seen his work before and it is impressive. It's kind of interesting that your own work has the flavor of Emile Nolde, n'est pas? There is a certain resonance in your self portrait next to his paintings.

Distributorcap said...

i wish i knew more about art -- i never heard of Emile Nolde -- and it is terrific

time for doing the google

Alex said...

Grenouille, I must agree with your comments about the current trends toward a less female body type. I'm not sure when it started, it's been around as long as I've been aware of the wonderful differences between the genders. However, I do remember the first time I saw Priscilla Lane in "Arsenic and Old Lace," and noticed that something was missing from the "modern" woman. A large part of the appeal of the silver screen era movies is that the girls are usually voluptuous.

linda said...

dear grenouille,
take heart, little frog, not all females are gaunt and stick-like, especially those of a certain age. Gone are the meager portions, and steak once again is seen on the plate, with potato and butter too! Fashion is fickle and one must not be distracted by such things....many of us are full and round and voluptuous and appreciated for our curves, almost as much as we appreciate them ourselves!

No worries, sweet little grenouille. I will take care of you within my bosom anytime you so desire a warm place to nap.

linda said...

I almost left without commenting on these lovely paintings...I do so love the gentle colors and the expressive is so silly to argue about what is good art and what is bad art....that is not what art is for. Art is to be appreciated if it speaks to one's heart or one's mind, otherwise, it will speak to what?

I don't care what others might see in the blankness of my canvas or lovely white paper...make a mark and someone will say "NO!" If you want to be an artist, there will always be some fool to tell you, you cannot.

ah, no matter....xo

Anonymous said...

I've never seen a Nolde either! I love the transparent coloring and the lines remind me of Picasso in his color phases. Thank you for introducing us to his art.

And I agree with Mr. G. I am a woman. Even if I attempted to live on just one lettuce leaf and a packet of ketchup each day, I would still have curves.

Why should we have to chase unattainable and unnatural ideals?

Steve Emery said...

Susan - I am pleased if there is any resemblance between my work and Nolde's. Many thanks - and yes - it is poetic justice - but wait, isn't that supposed to hurt?

DCap - thanks for visiting, and happy Googling. There is a decent amount of Nolde's work out there to see. What I REALLY wish is to see several in person, so I can get some feel for how he made them What first, what next...

Alex - Monsieur G says he is always glad to meet another admirer of las femmes voluptuous. Recently seeing "Some Like it Hot" we got another long look at Marilyn Monroe, and there is just so much "there" there.

Linda - I so agree with the "good" and "bad" being harmful and useless - it should be about what works - what conveys - what pleases. Grenouille says it is like l'amour, a personal matter of the heart. And he now knows the best place for a nap on a cold winter day, merci.

DCup - You're welcome! And Grenouille wishes women everywhere were loved and admired for their changing and deepening beauty as time goes by. Many men understand - now if fashion would just get in sync. Think if clothes were designed to show off the assets of real women, instead of models...

Liberality said...

Those are beautiful works of art and no I had not heard of this artist either.

As for the womanly woman--I am skinny, naturally so I think, and yet even I feel too fat sometimes; such is the toxic community we live in. And that is not what community should be about anyway.