Emil Nolde

Redhead (Stephanie Wiesand)


With a photo expertise by Professor Dr Manfred Reuther, Klockries, dated 23 October 2022.


Thole Rotermund Kunsthandel, Hamburg 2010/11, cat. no. 9, with col. illus.


Stephanie Wiesand, Baden-Baden (received as a gift from the artist);

Private collection, Hamburg.


– Expressive portrait of the actress and photographer Stephanie Wiesand

– Bright, expressive colours in shades of red and blue

– Special presence of the face and hair by omitting the neck and shoulder area

Nolde met the actress Stephanie Wiesand (1912-unknown) in St. Peter-Ording in September 1947. They met at the “Goldene Schlüssel” sanatorium, where the present watercolour and two further portraits were created. The previous year, Nolde had lost his wife Ada, after taking her to a health resort in 1946. The young actress reads his memoirs to the artist and thus gives him comfort. That same year, Nolde sent her the portrait as a Christmas present.

The sitter’s face is framed by bright orange-coloured hair that blazes around it like a wreath of fire. The painter chose a strong, dark blue for the contour lines and the eye area. Nolde shows one half of the face in shadow, the other illuminated, thereby achieving plasticity and a sense of presence. The actress’s red lips are smiling – her gaze is not directed at the viewer, but turned inwards.

In the series of his portraits, only a limited number can be understood as portraits in the narrower sense. Rather, Nolde uses the portrait as an artistic projection surface with the help of which he can visualise feelings or moods. The colours develop a law of their own and are, as Nolde himself writes, “dream and happiness, hot and holy! (…) passion and love, blood and death”. So it is to be understood when the artist writes to the sitter with the despatch of our picture: “Only I ask you not to say that it is you, it is not a portrait, it is just a little picture.”

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