Kranker, Arzt, Tod und Teufel (Patient, Doctor, Death and the Devil)


Emil Nolde (1876-1956), etching and aquatint, 1911, signed in pencil lower right (titled lower margin edge). Reference: Schiefler and Mosel 168, fifth state (of 5). Printer: Sabo. In excellent condiion, the full sheet with wide margins, 11 3/4 x 9 3/4, the sheet 23 1/2 x 18 1/2 inches. Archival storage, between acid free board, unattached mylar hinging.

A superb impression, with the composition, figures and light quite vivid and clear, yet still atmospheric.

The essential design of this print was complete in the first state; in the subsequent states Nolde experimented with the shading and effects of aquatint. Here the figures are quite bright, with the light focused on them and contrasting strongly with the dark background at the top.

As was typical for Nolde in this early phase of his printmaking career, he here uses various techniques –  including aquatint, spreading acid on the plate, and biting the plate with acid at different points in the printmaking process – to create tonal and speckling effects which contribute to the atmospheric and mystical quality of the final composition.

The themes of this print were never far from Nolde’s reality in the early 1900’s. His wife became a semi-invalid soon after their marriage in 1902, and Nolde himself recovered from a severe illness in 1909.