UVaM - University of Virginia Art Museum



Emil Nolde

Emil Nolde. German, 1867-1956 Die Kleinen Bürger (The Petite Bourgeoisie), from the series Phantasien (Fantasies), 1905 Line etching, tonal etching, and drypoint, 6 7/8 x 4 13/16 in, 17.5 x 12.3 cm (plate) Museum Purchase with Curriculum Support Funds, 2011.8.4

Emil Nolde considered the eight tonal etchings known as Phantasien (Fantasies), created in the autumn of 1905, to be his first great breakthrough in printmaking. Die Kleinen Bürger (The Petite Bourgeoisie), the first print in the series, depicts four men standing in a circle, with similar figures at the margins. Their faces have a caricatural quality, giving this depiction of social types an ironic connotation. Complex tonal effects render the figures' mottled clothing and the hazy, dim environment. A sketchy line adds to the impression of spontaneity, hence emotional intensity, which Nolde sought. Die Kleinen Bürger is a rare print, produced in only twenty-six impressions, and an important addition to the Museum's small but growing holdings in modern German prints.