To the Bitter End

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Emil Nolde: The Artist during the Third Reich
edited by Bernhard Fulda, Aya Soika and Christian Ring.
Prestel, 320 pp., £45, May 2019, 978 3 7913 5894 9

Angela​ Merkel had a bad start to 2019. The right-wing AfD was on the rise. The reaction of the German security services to the race riots in the East German town of Chemnitz had raised questions about right-wing infiltration of the state apparatus. And then came a request from the National Gallery in Berlin for the loan of two pictures that hung in Merkel’s chancellery office. Both were by Emil Nolde. Brecher (1936) was a typically Noldean seascape, dark blue-green breakers against a glowing red sky. The other painting was less ominous: a garden picture from 1915, Blumengarten (Thersens Haus).

Emil Nolde’s ‘Blumengarten (Thersens Haus)’ (1915). This and ‘Brecher’ (below) were the two paintings that hung in Angela Merkel’s office.

Read the full review at London Review of Books

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