Rolf (Emil Rudolf) Nesch (1893 – 1975) was an expressionist artist, especially noted for his printmaking – ‘material pictures’. He is one of the first artists to have consciously used collage to create collagraph printing plates.
Rolf Nesch tribute
Nesch was born in Esslingen am Neckar, and studied at the academy in Dresden from 1912 to 1914. He then participated in World War I, but was taken prisoner by the British. In 1929 he settled in Hamburg to continue his painting career, influenced by expressionism in general, especially Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Edvard Munch. Upon the Nazi takeover in Germany in 1933, Nesch repatriated to Norway.
Inspired by Norwegian scenery and working life, he gave up painting and produced the following year his first so-called material picture, and also took up sculpture. Drawing continued to be a key means of expression. But it is as printmaker that Rolf Nesch made his most significant contribution. As a technical innovator he discovered the potential in new materials – using metal and found objects as the basis for collagraphs. He gave depth and texture to prints by soldering out metal shapes and wire to metal printing plates. He then took this further by drilling holes in plates and sewing to the base plate. The prints were so deep he needed 8 blankets to get the right pressure and very heavy strong paper.Many of his images are narrative with bold use of cutout figures.
Nesch died in 1975 in Oslo. The Nesch Museum opened in 1993 in Ål, where he had lived for twenty-five years, to commemorate his hundredth anniversary.
Fauvism and Expressionism influenced:
Project 4.1 Portrait of a Friend
Fauvism is the name applied to the work produced from around 1905 to 1910 by a group of French artists led by Henri Matisse and André Derain, but including Georges Braque, Raoul Dufy, Georges Rouault, and Maurice de Vlaminck ). It was inspired by post-impressionism of Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat, and Paul Cézanne. The name les fauves (‘the wild beasts’) was coined by the critic Louis Vauxcelles when he saw the work of Henri Matisse and André Derain in an exhibition, the salon d’automne in Paris, in 1905.
Fauvism was characterised by:
- use of strong saturated colours as independent elements that projected a mood and established a structure for a painting without having to be true to the natural world. They were interested in scientific colour theories and often juxtaposed complementary colours to increase vibrancy.
- concern with strong and unified compositional balance of colour and shape elements to give an immediate strong and unified visual impression
- fierce dynamic brushwork juxtaposed with areas of flat colour
- all elements aimed to promote the artist’s individual expression, their direct experience of their subjects, emotional response to nature, and intuition were all more important than academic theory or elevated subject matter.
It was an important precursor to Expressionism, Cubism and future modes of abstraction.
Alexej Georgewitsch von Jawlensky (Russian: Алексей Георгиевич Явленский) (13 March 1864 – 15 March 1941) was a Russian expressionist painter active in Germany. He was a key member of the New Munich Artist’s Association (Neue Künstlervereinigung München), Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) group and later the Die Blaue Vier (The Blue Four).
- Connaissance des arts (2017). Andre Derain: 1904-1914 La Decennie Radicale. Paris: Connaissance des arts.
- Barnett, V. E., Ed. (2017). Alexei Jawlensky. Munich, London, New York: Prestel.
- Derain, A. (2017). Andre Derain. London and Paris: FAGE.
- Muller, J. E. (1967). Fauvism. London: Thames and Hudson.
Tate website: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/f/fauvism