Emil Nolde – the lash not the latte!


Emil Nolde (nee Hansen) (1867-1956, 79)

The lash not the latte! Die Peitsche nicht die Latte!


The message not the aesthetic?

One off. A singular „primitive“ German Expressionist painter.

Not a „nice man“? No cosmopolitian multiculturalist: a pious, reactionary, pro-Nazi outsider.

But some striking modern paintings. If on his favoured old themes.

Nolde fits a 600 year tradition of serious, slightly mad, moralising, reactionary German art?



1920. Tänzerin und Harlekin (Dancer and Harlequin). 5 x 100 cm, oil on canvas (burlap).Nolde Foundation.    COMMENT: at age 53, one of Nolde’s later (last?) quirky figure paintings, again invokes dancing.


1909. Wildly Dancing Children (Enfants dansant sauvagement). 73 X 88, Kiel, Kunsthalle


1921 Paradise Lost (Paradies verloren), oil on canvas, 86.5 x 100.5 cm, Nolde Stiftung Seebüll.

COMMENT: two signature Nolde works, an early Post-Impressionist cum Expressionist take on a timeless human theme, Dionysian revel, and a shell-shocked Aryan Eve in a later rowdy account of the foundation story for Christianity, the title making his point, a work which for some reason the Church was not keen to acquire.


Claude Monet (1840-1926). c1868. Coucher de soleil, pastel on paper, 21.8 x 35.8 cm. Est. GBP 200-300k.

COMMENT:  Here is a Christies’ offering 28 February 2018, London, a simple small proto-Expressionist work by Monet, painted in the late 1860s, 6 years before Impressionism was officially launched, and about 60 years before Nolde was still painting much the same way by the Baltic.


 1/ Summary

Emil Nolde was something else, different. For a brief spell before and around WW1 the Danish-German artist was a distinctly original Expressionist painter.

But as a leading Modernist he was also a strange if not unique mix of eye-catching art, a taciturn personality, little or no formal art training, and starkly un-modern“ old ideas, like old-time Christian religion and anti-Semitic pro-Nazi German nationalism.

But as such he arguably also fits well within a 600 year long tradition of slightly mad, moralising reactionary German art? The message not the aesthetic? „Die Botschaft nicht die Ästhetik?“

Though to be fair his copious colorful Baltic skyscapes and flowers showed he relaxed nearer the aesthetic pole.


His creative apogee was brief, only about a decade, c1909-19.

Appropriately, after finding his feet around 1905-08 (meeting the Die Brücke group, 1906-07, and Edvard Munch in 1906) Nolde in mid 1909 abruptly kick started his distinctive vigorous Expressionist style through religion. After recovering from illness that summer he embarked on a sequence of striking Expressionist religious paintings, like La Pentecôte (Pentecost), The Last Supper and Verspottung (Mocking of Christ by the Soldiers). In 1911/12 followed the huge 9 panel,  The Life of Christ (centre panel 220.5 x 193.5 cm; the side panels each 100 x 86 cm), and 1915, the powerful compressed The Burial.

This theme then didn’t get much stranger than his wild 1912 tryptych on the unfamiliar St Mary of Egypt, an obscure and bizarre 7th C AD misogynistic story which also illustrates the Church’s problem with women. Also in 1912 came his iconic  woodcut The Prophet of 1912. A decade later he unloaded with a shell-shocked Eve in Paradise Lost and a gory Martyrdom triptych.

From this religious passion he broadened his ambit to encompass what we might call primeval irrational urges, so striking too for elements of the primeval Dionysian madness within was a clutch of frantic dance themed images after 1910, and then many of his figure groups, like The Missionary (1912, painted before his New Guinea visit), Boy with a Big Bird (1912), Soldiers (1913), and Encounter on the beach (1920),

Then his creative flame waned after c1921? Beyond his mid 50s. He still painted a lot – many figures (portraits, small groups, some recalling post WW1 Francis Picabia?), many landscapes (sea and sky), and some flowers (lots of poppies and sunflowers) – mostly small and sketchy, in his trademark patchy colour-mad style. But mostly he was treading water, particulaly once proscribed by the Nazis.


„Primitive“ fits Emil Nolde, like his uncosmopolitan reactionary view of life: his strong attachment to his Christian faith, to his stark North Sea rural coastal home in far north Germany (a “regionalist“, Peter Selz, MOMA, 1963), and also to anti-Semitic German nationalism, later including a strong allegiance to the Nazis.

Which meant of course he was much closer to the then popular mindset than most of his avant-garde artist contemporaries.


And primitive fits his distinctive Expressionist painting style, developed especially when around age 42 he found his metier, Expressionist „modernist“ feet, just before WW1, c1909-14: coarse, ragged and colorful shapes, cropped, close up / in your face compositions, mask-like faces, figures with an element of the visceral, the grotesque and the crazy.

His 1913-14 ethnological visit to German New Guinea only whetted his existing appetite for the „primitive“, for he was already painting pictures of masks 2 years before, in 1911


He was an odd Modernist too in being older than his main contemporaries when he hit his straps around 1909 at age 42, except notably Kandinsky (who was a year older), also another Russian, fellow Expressionist Alexander Jawlensky (3 years older).


Like most people Nolde sought company and recognition, but his awkward personality constrained social engagement, and hence also his art training. For a time he was in the mix with other avant-garde painters (eg in particular when invited into Die Brucke, 190607), but temperamentally as well as politically he was out of step, the crusty old loner who quickly retreated from The Bridge, then from Berlin back to the rural Baltic.


His odd cocktail of circumstances became darkly comical after the Nazis took control in Germany early 1933 and especially when in 1937, unsurprisingly, the authorities deemed his colorful confronting modernism „degenerate“, showed him with other „degenerates“, and confiscated over 1000 works. The puzzled older artist (now near 70) pleaded for leniency, stressed his long running earnest and sincere support for Hitler and his Government!


2/ The lash not the latte? Die Peitsche nicht die Latte! The message not the aesthetic? Nolde fits in a 600 year long tradition of slightly mad, reactionary German art?

Here’s an original observation?

In seeking a wider perspective Nolde can be seen at least loosely as part of Germany (including the diverse collection of statelets it was pre the 19th C unification) having a long tradition of taking its art seriously, laboring the message not the aesthetic, and mostly favouring a reactionary nostalgic purpose, quasi-spiritual even, be it trumpeting Christianity or later calling on olden pagan Northern myths.

This  is head down not feet up art.


So Germany was slow to accept the emerging artistic and cultural thrust of the Renaissance, swam against the tide, particularly in the 14th and 15th centuries. Thus it contributed disproportionately to the so-called International Gothic art style, which tried to sustain the unnatural stylised Mediaeval painting, applied almost exclusively to asserting Christian iconography and per contra the radical shift to naturalism and realism which started in Italy late 13th / early 14th C with Pisano and Giotto.

This is evident for example in work of painters like the Master of the Třeboň Altarpiece  (active 1380-90, Prague), Master Francke (c1380-c1440), a German painter born in Lower Rhine, and the Master of the Karlsruhe Passion (active c1435-65), working in Strasbourg area.

Later, paradoxically, around 1500, as the High Renaissance was abroad in Italy and the Reformation was about to erupt across Europe, this anachronistic, reactionary neo-Mediaeval approach was then emphatically sustained by two stridently distinctive painters, Heironymous Bosch (1450-1516) in Flanders and Matthias Grünewald (c. 1470 – 1528) mostly in Mainz and Frankfurt. Both are probably far better known today than in their time, for their respective arresting contributions, their garish, visionary nightmarish proto-Surrealist imaginatons:  Bosch in a unique one man admonitory c20 year moral crusade on behalf of the Roman Church, and Grunewald for one mighty religious work, his 11 panels for the Isenheim Altarpiece (c1506-16) focussing on the life of Christ.  So both focussed exclusively on a didactic religious purpose, and both did so through graphic unnatural expression. Bosch’s younger contemporary, Hans Baldung Grien (c. 1484 – 1545), an apprentice to Durer, later based Strasbourg, also had a unique style and content, which also strayed into unnatural imagination and fantasy.

On the other hand the approach of the great virtuosic Albrecht  Durer (1471-1528) – based mainly Nuremberg but broadened particularly by visits to Italy (1494-95 and 1505-07), also the Netherlands (1520-21) – was more equivocal, painted many religious images but avoided the ominous dark Boschian approach.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder (no „h“) (c1525-1569) was a major Flemish artist in the mid 16th C, in the wake of the Reformation, now highly regarded and popular after about 3 centuries of neglect, and who died in his mid 40s, active for only c14 years.  Bruegel painted religious works but mostly set in wintry Netherlands landscapes, early ones of which looked back Joachim Patinir (1483-1524, also Antwerp-based), except for 3 paintings c1562, where he did briefly follow Bosch’s visionary nightmarish model.  Like Bosch a moralising theme threads his work, but in secular rural settings and he is now popular mostly for realistic depictions of peasant life.


Two other famous modern German artists, both slightly younger – Otto Dix (1891-1969) and George Grosz (1893-1959) – certainly fit the tradition of serious minded German art, Die Peitsche, in their fierce satirical assault on post WW1 Weimar Germany, through their graphic Expressionist leaning stylised realism (cf New Objectivity). But clearly they spoke from the other end of the political spectrum to Nolde, and were relentless, taking no time off for aesthetically therapeutic landscapes and still lives.


The slightly younger close contemporary Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956) was another German (American) painter who applied a modern artistic style to an anti-modern nostalgic purpose, leaving a raft of quasi-spiritual (Christian) aethereal luminous depictions of towns and churches, and seascapes and boats. But Feininger’ modern style was quite different toNolde, a much softer personal variant of Cubo-futurism, and incorporating a much louder aesthetic dimension than most of Nolde’s work.

However Nolde’s grotesque figures from his peak phase near and about WW1 do bear some resemblance to the distinctive elongated cartoon like figures in much of Feininger’s early painting (c 1910), which he carried over from his immediate prior career as a newspaper cartoonist.

On the other hand Feininger was far more conventional and social than Nolde, engaging far more closely with the art world, like his stint teaching with the Bauhaus.


Another distinctive Expressionist painter who Nolde met (in Munich?) and exhibited with, and whose work bears some comparison with Nolde, is the Russian expatriate (ie like Kandinsky) Alexei von Jawlensky (1864-1941).

Like Nolde he was also a late starter, but from very different circumstances. From a well off and well connected family he abandoned a military career for art. He was not overtly religious like Nolde though he was loosely “spiritual”and his many distinctive portraits / heads do draw on “traditional” roots, both Russian / Byzantine icons and “primitive” African sculpture.

Also, conspicuously, unlike Kandinsky (whose strong spiritualism, as for Mondrian, derived from the nonsensical strictures of Theosophy), neither Nolde nor Jawlensky crossed the line to pure abstraction.


Not surprisingly Nolde’s striking work has left its mark.

One can recognise American Modernist Marsden Hartley (1877-1943) in some of Nolde’s work (like Soldiers of 1913, which work Hartley may have seen in Germany near and at the start of WW1?

Also a couple of his works (like 1911, Figures exotiques 2 and Nature morte aux masques) seem to point directly to current market favourite Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-88).


3/ The reactionary Modernist: a keen Nazi supporter and a Christian.

Nolde was an unusual Expressionist artist.

His painting style from c1909 was radical but unlike most of his cosmopolitan and politically progressive avant-garde colleagues he was staunchly reactionary. His strong traditional religious beliefs and conservative political views were directly out of step.

From a young age Nolde was a devout Christian, then from c1909, after illness, and over a period of about 15 years, he painted many confronting unconventional religious works, traditional Christian subjects but in a jarring modern style. And then he was apparently puzzled and hurt the Church did not commission any such works, or hang them!


More controversially, but far from unusual given his roots, Nolde became an early (from early 1920s?) and vociferous supporter of Hitler and the Nazi Party, and a racist denouncer of Jews (eg refer to work by Stefan Koldehoff and the catalogue for 2014 Frankfurt exhibition, Aya Soika and Bernhard Fulda): „For as long as I’ve worked as an artist I have publicly battled against the foreign infiltration of German art, against the dirty dealings on the art market and the disproportionately predominant Jewish influence everywhere in the arts..” (Emil Nolde notes, 6th December 1938).” “The sentences following this declaration consist of glowing endorsements of the Führer, Volk and Fatherland.” (Stefan Koldehoff).

Then self-interest reinforced his public support when in 1937, to his puzzled chagrin, the Nazis deemed his painting style „degenerate“, confiscated over 1000 of his works (1052?) and assigned 48 to the infamous Degenerate Art exhibition, Entartete Kunst. To no avail he pleaded for overturn of their rulings, eg in person to to Nazi gauleiter Baldur von Schirach in Vienna. Instead, on the contrary, in 1941 they ordered him to cease painting, which he quietly ignored, then painting 100s of watercolors which he secreted,  calling them his “Unpainted Pictures“..

After WW2 however, like many Nazis, he quickly sought to evade responsibility, rewrite his history, cover his tracks, and (until recent times) with some official support.


4/ Driving his art content and style

Nolde was „spiritually“rooted to his locale in North Friesland in far north Germany, had a quasi-spiritual and nationalistic attachment, from 1902 taking his birthplace for his surname (Nolde is now in Denmark).

The main issues driving the content of his art were nature, religion, and the primal behaviour of people.

Nature he painted especially through his coastal home in north Germany, many landscapes and seascapes, through many floral still lives, also the Swiss mountains when he passed there as a young man.

His Christian religion was pivotal. These many important works started especially after illness in 1909, beginning with the Last Supper. Many followed, most like the Last Supper, then one crazy Noldesque one, Dance around the Golden Calf of 1910, culminating in his large neo-Mediaeval triptych of Life of Christ, 1911-12.

His woodcut of The Prophet (1912), dark and close, was an influential signature work, and later his Paradise (1921) was another arresting image, of a pivotal Biblical subject.

His attraction to what might be styled the primal passions of people is evident in his memorable depictions of the timeless theme of „dance“, but across various situations: like and children playing (1909, Wildly Dancing Children), and. like a night club (1914, Still life with dancers), and even, incongruously, religious settings! Like 1910‘s Dance Around the Golden Calf.

City life he saw in Berlin, then summer 1910 through the winter 1910-11 he explored Hamburg, the large northern port, painting many life scenes there, including cafes and night clubs, and including close up groups like the Slovenes and the Three Russians.


His art style, and longevity (thus avoiding two world wars and the great flu pandemic), allowed him to be prolific (eg  Athenaeum list 1236 works), and across different media. Beyond oil paintings he left many watercolors, also many prints, etchings and woodcuts and lithographs.


The essence of his Expressionist style was bold bright colour in ragged untidy in your face close-ups.  So his art style drew heavily on colour, lashings of, his „tempests of colour“ (Karl Schmidt-Rottluff (1884-1976)), triggered especially it would seem by seeing works of Vincent van Gogh (1853-90) and Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) after around 1899.

Every colour holds within it a soul, which makes me happy or repels me..”, he wrote.

In his many group figurative images (secular and religious) he favoured crowded close ups (like some famous past artists, cf the later Bosch), painting coarse ragged primtive like figures, drawing on caricature, the grotesque.


His painting method was spontaneous and quick, starting with „an idea“, then „I became the copyist of the idea“, working from his imagination, with little detailed preconception or preparation. Thus he was also prolific.


5/ One man’s journey.

5.1/ His own man, an outsider more than most.

Like many notable artists he followed his own muse, was his own man.

Socially he was awkward, shy and reclusive, wanted friends and acceptance, but struggled.

So in art he was largely self taught, partly because he had to work his way up from humble farming roots as a craftsman, but then especially because once he finally could afford some training, like in Paris , his personality meant he struggled, was not an easy student. He wrote “Paris has given me very little, and I had expected so much.” (Peter Selz, op.cit.).

For a time, from c1905, he met other artists, keen to exchange views, but again struggled. Much older than the others (eg 40 compared with mid to late 20s) Nolde in 1907 left the important pioneering Die Brücke Expressionist group after only about a year, not getting enough his own way.

His powerful unconventional modern religious paintings, unusual as avant-garde subjects, also aroused dissent.

After Die Brücke he joined the Berlin Secession, a group which rejected the conventional Association of Berlin Artists and favoured  Post-Impressionism.

But 1910 he left that group after a “prolonged quarrel” following rejection of his 1910 Pentecost, and also works by other Exprssionists. He bitterly criticized Secession leader Max Liebermann (Jewish). Some of the rejected Expressionist painters (led by Tappert and Pechstein) in 1910 formed the breakaway Berlin Neue Secession, their first exhibition advertised as artists “rejected by the Berlin Secession 1910”. Nolde tried and failed in 1911 to take leadership of this group.

The art museum in Halle bought his Last Supper despite disagreement among the directors.


5.2/ Emergence as artist – largely self trained.

He was born Emil Hansen 1867 into an old devout Protestant farming family, one of 4 brothers, at Nolde in the western part of North Schleswig, then the Prussian (German) Duchy of Schleswig, becoming part of Denmark after WW1.

The German Expressionist painter and printmaker stayed close to his farming origins but not as a farmer, in 1884 (age 17) becoming an apprentice wood carver at a furniture factory (Sauermannsche Schnitzschule (Carving School)) at Flensburg, till 1888, thence 1889 (22) to work as a furniture carver at Karslruhe, taking art classes at night at Karlsruhe School of Applied Arts, then 1890-91 to Berlin as a furniture designer, but now drawing in museums. 1892-98 (age 25-31) he was a drawing instructor at Museum of Industry and Commerce in St Gallen in Switzerland and there finally encountered avant-garde art through Swiss painters, the neo-Romantic / Symbolist Arnold Bocklin (1827-1901) and Ferdinand Hodler (1853-1918), impressed by their “allegorical, animistic” takes on nature, and by the dramatic natural scenery. Some financial success selling postcards of Symbolist like anthropomorphised mountains allowed him to seek further art training.

But 1899 he failed to enrol with Franz von Stuck in Munich, studied briefly instead at nearby Dachau with Adolf Hölzel (1853-1934), an interesting painter who at near age 60 helped pioneer abstraction, and who would have encouraged Nolde’s interest in colour.

He next spent 9 months in Paris to summer 1900, now studying at Académie Julian, where he met more new French art, but apparently departed very disappointed!

1900-02 he lived back near his roots, Copenhagen and nearby, 1903 settling on the island of Alsen, but also working in Berlin.


5.3/ Finds his feet

After a brief quiet start (cf Light be, 1901), and a visit to Italy 1904-05, by c1905 Nolde‘s distinctive colour hungry art style was becoming evident. In Nolde’s first colourful paintings c1905-07, mostly outdoors, like gardens and flowers, we see a clear line to especially van Gogh (eg Nolde‘s Harvest day, 1905, and Red flowers, 1906), and also Gauguin (eg Nolde‘s Market people, 1908).

But perhaps the immediate trigger of Expressionism in Germany, and presumably making a vital impact on Nolde was the Norwegian modern giant Edvard Munch (1863-1944), only 4 years older than Nolde but who made his mark much earlier, especially after being exposed in his mid-late 20s (c1889-1892) to the ongoing revolution in Paris, including Gauguin and van Gogh. Thus early as 1893 (age 30) Munch produced his first version his primally important The Scream. Later Nolde met Munch in Germany in 1906.


February 1906 Nolde was invited by the (17 years) younger Schmidt-Rottluff  (“one of Die Brücke’s undertakings is to attract any ferment of revolution….. And so, dear Mr Nolde….  we hereby wish to pay tribute to you for your tempests of colour”) to join the Dresden-based German Expressionist group Die Brücke (founded 1905 by Fritz Bleyl (1880–1966), Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938), Karl Schmidt-Rottluff (1884-1976), Erich Heckel (1883-1970)  etc). Schmidt-Rottluff, then introduced him to woodcut. Others included Max Pechstein (1881-1955).

Gustav Schiefler who he met in Berlin after 1902 was an important supportive patron, collected his work, wrote, and later produced a catalogue raisonné of his prints.


His painting style thereafter was variations on the colorfully „Expressive“, reinforced by his pre WW1 contact with other German Expressionists, through Die Brücke and Der Blaue Reiter.

Thus in 1912 Nolde showed with Kandinsky’s (1866-1944) and Franz Marc’s (1880-1916) important Munich-based group Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), including Alexei von Jawlensky (1864-1941), Paul Klee (1879-1940), August Macke (1887-1914), Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956) and Albert Bloch (1881-1961).


The bold stylised art of “primitive” native people (especially sculpture, often accessed via museums) made a strong impressionon Nolde, as it had on many modern artists, and this was reinforced by being invited by the German Imperial Colonial Office to join a brief government ethnological excursion to German New Guinea, 1913-14, returning soon after WW1 broke out.


The other contemporary painter who resonates in some way with some of Nolde’s work was the Belgian James Ensor (1860-1949), 7 years older, and who Nolde visited in Ostend early 1911.

Ensor was similar to Nolde in a number of ways: he was also his own man, was also somewhat eccentric and reclusive; also painted Christian religious subjects (though less conventionally than Nolde, more as polemical expression of disllusion with the world); and finally, also he favoured elements of fantasy and the grotesque, especially for about a decade from the late 1880s (eg Masks Mocking Death, 1888), ie in his late 20s through 30s.


5.4/ And the rest

After WW1 when his home region became part of Denmark Nolde took Danish citizenship. Later, in 1927, he settled back near his roots by the North Sea coast, but at Seebüll, just inside the German border and today part of Neukirchen. There he built a house, now a museum.

Arguably the sting went out of Nolde’s work after the early 1920s, ie he in his mid 50s?

His output rate was far lower.

And in particular he retreated from his fierce slightly manic or frenzied Expressionist approach, from the aggressive style, and in the content, like no more of the many dance paintimgs, eg The Dancers (1920), and the quirky still lives, eg Striped goat and still life (1920).

There was still lots of colour but in a softer flat patchy style.

Lots of landscapes, lots of flowers, and some figures.

Then later, constrained by the Nazi rulings during WW2 he resorted to many small watercolours, his Unpainted paintings.


After his death in 1956 the Hamburg Kunstverein mounted a memorial exhibition at in 1957. Later he was exhibited in major exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1963); Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1995); Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (1995); Brücke-Museum, Berlin (1999); Grand Palais, Paris (2008); Nasjonalmuseet for kunst, arkitektur og design, Oslo (2012); and Frankfurt Städel Museum / Louisiana Museum of Modern Arts (2014).






1907, Magic of light, (Lichtzauber), Oil on canvas, 70 x 88 cm. Nolde Stiftung Seebull


1910. Dance Around the Golden Calf, 88 x 105.5 cm


1911, Nature morte aux masques, 74 X 78, Kansas City, Nelson Gallery of Art, Atkins-Museum


1911 At the café (coffee house). Oil on canvas Museum Folkwang, Essen


1912. Boy with Grande Bird. Oil on canvas, 73 x 88 cm, SMK (Statens Museum for Kunst), Copenhagen


1912. The Prophet, 32.1 x 22.2 cm


1912 Legend: St. Mary of Egypt – Death in the Desert, Heilige Maria Aegyptiaca – Rechte Tafel: Der Tod in der Wüste). 1912, oil on canvas (Kunsthale Hamburg, Hamburg).

COMMENT: The story was written in the 7th C, of Saint Mary (Maria Aegyptiaca) who lived in 5th or 6th C, born Egypt, sold her body for living, “driven “by an insatiable and an irrepressible passion,””, who traveled to Jerusalem, “paid for her passage by offering sexual favors”, there saw the light, was “struck with remorse” and lived rest of her life across the Jordan as a hermit. The lion helped bury her.


1915. The Burial (Die Grablegung), oil on canvas, 87 x 117 cm, Stiftung Nolde, Seebüll, Nasjonalmuseet, National Museum of Art, , Architecture and Design, Norway


1912. Candle Dancers (Kerzentänzerinnen), Oil on canvas, 100.5 x 86.5 cm, Nolde Stiftung Seebüll.


1912. The Missionary, Private collection, 75 x 63 cm


1913. Soldiers, Oil on canvas, 86.5 x 106 cm, Nolde Stiftung Seebüll.


1914. Still life with dancers, oil on canvas 88 × 105.5 cm Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris


1913 Clouds in Summer, Oil on canvas, 73.3 x 88.5 cm (Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid)


  1. Shivering Russians,103.5 x 118.9 x 5.3 cm, SMK (Statens Museum for Kunst), Copenhagen


1917, Selbstbildnis, 1917, 83 x 65 cm, oil on wood. Nolde Foundation Seebüll , © Nolde Foundation Seebüll, 2013.


1918. Blue Sea (Blaues Meer). Oil on canvas, 56 x 70cm, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts


1919 The enthusiast, Sprengel Museum Hanover 101.3 x 73.6cm


1920 Encounter on the beach, 86.5 x 100 cm, Nolde Stiftung Seebüll


1920 Still Life with Striped Goat, 75 x 88cm, private


1920. Dancers


C 1930? Sea coast (Red Sky, Two White Sails), watercolor on Japan paper, 22.3 x 17.1cm. Nolde Stiftung Seebüll


1930. Schwü̈ler Abend (Muggy evening), Nolde Stiftung Seebüll

n27ph   n29


Emil Nolde circa 1907? Age 40?                               And c 1945, age 78?


The Cosmic Question – “You’re steering now soldier!”


Allegorical literary aids to facing, comprehending the human predicament?

And the answer: in our hands now.


Jack B. Yeats (Irish, 1871-1957), “Driftwood in a Cave,” 1948. , 14 x 21 in, oil on canvas. On loan from the Donald and Marilyn Keough Family.

COMMENT; He sees the light? He arrives at the threshold of adulthood, responsibility. Relentless change. Uncertainty. And opportunity.


Gábor Melegh (1801–1835). 1827, Portrait of a Man (Franz Schubert), oil on panel, 60 x 48 cm, Hungarian National Gallery


Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra CD cover (Franz Schubert’s (1797-1828) Symphony No. 8 in B Minor, D. 759 (the “Unfinished”) )


A/ Allegorical literary aids to coping with Man’s Existential Predicament

We have by chance literary allegorical aids, heuristic texts, to help wrestle, cope with the Big Question, WHY are we here? What purpose?

And now, post the species-bending post 17th C technical take-off, where are we going?

Man’s technical takeoff, since c1600, gathered steam in the 19th C especially and has now accelerated since c1945, with global implications.


Thus the Faust story (via Marlowe, Goethe in particular) summarises the predicament, the cost-benefit dilemma.

The story arose, is presented traditionally within a Christian context (ie Faust sells his soul to Satan hereafter in return for riches, love and power today) but it can be stripped of this to reveal a wider core message, which is allegorically speaking the essence of modern post Enlightenment Man’s predicament. Or post-modern if “modern” we define as the specific historic arrival of the modern, the New Dispensation.

Thus we basically GAIN adulthood, and all the opportunities therein. We gain open-eyed curiosity, power, an explosion in knowledge, technology, and immense material benefits on the side.

But we LOSE God/gods. We lose certainty, our childhood, “innocence”, lose simply accepting the planet’s natural ouput.

In particular with our new uncovered adulthood comes RESPONSIBILITY, which can be construed as a cost.


We have to become more comfortable with uncertainy, living with mystery, with Man as a work in progress, unfinished. So here Franz Schubert’s (1797-1828) Symphony No. 8 in B Minor, D. 759 (the “Unfinished”) is another helpful cultural walking cane! Yes it’s unfinished and yes comes with mystery, like why it was unfinished, 6 busy years before he died at only 31


The Greek myth (eg from Hesiod’s Theogony) of Prometheus talks of Man gaining technical prowess, through being gifted Fire, stolen by Prometheus from the gods.

Pandora’s Box is a dark misogynistic story with a curiously optimistic coda. So Pandora (“the all gifted”) was the old Greek Eve, was the first woman, “created” by the gods, by Hephaestus and Athena, overseen by Zeus, with various gods endowing her with “seductive gifts”, all as punishment for Man after the recalcitrant Prometheus pinched the firestick for Man.

And the box contained… all Man’s troubles?! Yes Pandora opened the box, or jar, and.. all the “evils of humanity” flew out! Yes delivered by the First Woman, just as Eve has misled Adam, coaxed him to eat the apple, triggering Original Sin, Man the miserable imperfect hopeless loser, which was / is the foundation stone of the Christian Church’s business model, ie selling the joys of salvation (including eternal after life) to sinners, warning of eternal damnation (and toasting)  for dissenters. So the Christian and Jewish religions used this misogyny.

But the flicker of optimism the in the coda? After opened the box one thing remained.. a wee grain of Hope!? A glimmer! A shred of salvatory possiblility.


Finally Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (an extraordinary and prescient feat of creation) basically talks to the matter of Man exercising his new found responsibility, having effectively now become an adult following the technical takeoff, in now applying the new technology, “gift of the gods”, “stolen from the gods”!

It can bring good or ill. It’s up to you.


B/ The cost-benefit balance of the technical takeoff.


We GAIN, it delivers… food, shelter, heating, health, transport, communication etc. It is an exercise in species-wide economic / material endowment which is historically unparalleled in the plus 5 million year history of hominids.

It obviously has species profound implications.

Suddenly, after millions of years on the natural teat, we can “feed” ourselves, not rely on measley natural welfare, wait for “god’s” handout.

And interestingly we also gain sufficient resources / knowledge / technical capability to react to, to alleviate the costs of natural calamities, especially climate change, ie especially global cooling / droughts, eg caused by volcanoes, and myriad other natural factors, which have been devastating for Man in recorded history (eg the dramatic end of the Bronze Age, c1200BC, which arguably cleared te stage for the epic rise of Classical Greece), and in the recent geological past, like the many ice ages.


The core COST is now coping with engendered change, with remorseless ongoing CHANGE, with chronic uncertainty.

We can’t get off. We can’t go back, return to our childhood

And now the rate of change seems to be accelerating, say since WW2, with developments in genetics, computing, the internet / social media / global digital world etc.

We LOSE “innocence”, tradition.

And we face the RISK of technical dystopia? All kinds of risks, like pandemics, nuclear calamity, runaway technology, collapse of digital global networks etc.

The Faustian context

The FAUSTIAN pact?!

Thus we GAIN knowledge, open eyed curiosity.

Much of the world (but not all! Tradition fights back!) is no longer restrained by superstition, by irrational traditional authority, and especially by self serving organised institutional religion, in league with secular authority.

We gain…. possibilities.

It effectively means we are“playing god”, yes Man is god (cf Yuval Harari etc) now WE have hands on the wheel.

Yes Man IS god. Like it or not.

And the COST is the profound implication that the New Dispensation Comes with RESPONSIBILITY for Man.

Like child growing up to Adulthood.

‘You’re steering soldier!”

The technical takeoff

So I was reminded again of Faust running last Sat 27th January and hearing the ABC (Australian) radio Science Show, talking quantum computing, a great example of the technical takeoff apparently accelerating.

It is accelerating because

a/ feeds on itself

b/ the great increase in economic resources means a huge increase in education globally, in research, in more bright minds applied to task.

c/ Man is inherently competitive.

The best parallel in history – and very relevant – is Classical Greece?

Arguably the important pivotal inflection was say end WW2?

Broadly the big areas of development are:

0/ health, increased life span.

2/ energy supply.

3/ genetic manipulation, a huge issue, Man now playing under the hood with his genetic rules, protocols!

4/ Computing, especially now quantum computing. Hence matters of data storge / manipulation.

This facilitates.

a/ control of machines, in manufacturing, infrastructure, transport (all vehicles, cars, trains, planes etc).

b/ power plants, electricity.

c/ communication.


C/ Outcome?


Yes there is the risk of technical dystopia?

So tes we may be on the Runaway Train? Like Jon Voigt in the 1985 film by Andrei Konchalovsky.

It’s easy to get depressed, fashion disaster scenarios, eg pandemics, accidental or delibereate nuclear explosions, dire implications of Artificial Intelligence, vulnerability of huge complex digital global networks to sabotage?


And Opportunity? Up to us.

So far the material rewards have been astounding, more recently for 100s of millions of Chinese.

THE Big Question today for Man is definitely not climate change.

Though it surely will be when global cooling returns, as it surely will, eg looking at the planet’s long term mercury reading, the temperature chart, which shows about 12 ice ages in last one  million years.

Instead today the really big question is can Man manage the ongoing Technical Take Off for his collective benefit, or is he likely condemned by its almost inevitable systemic failure?

Can he stay in charge?

Many are pessimistic, eg Stephen Hawking, and (I notice) Yuval Noah Harari (he would be with that middle name).

It’s easy to concoct dystopian scenarios?

But one thing we DO know is that no one knows, for sure.

We need an open mind

The outcome will depend especially on:

a/ how technology keeps changing, the detail,

b/ taking responsibility, the Good guys (ie principally relevant Governments, some countries more than others), versus Bad guys, the BGs now including some obvious States, also violent theocratic entities, anarchistic organisations, all of which use the benefits of the technical takeoff to attack it.

There are reasons to be cautiously optimistic.

Are there Protocols for Survival?

History of the “Western World” in 721 words


Piet Mondrian (1872-1944). 1909 View from the Dunes with Beach and Piers Domburg, oil and pencil on cardboard, 28.5 x 38.5 cm, MOMA


Let’s try spell it out.


Christian complications.

The idea that “God’ should appear to Man around 1AD, in Judea, seems ridiculous.

Why precisely there and then? Why 14,165,897,285 years after Big Bang? And why not in Patagonia or East Chezzetcook? And why Man? Why not birds or dolphins?

Some Greeks worked it out around 500 years earlier, how humankind has a habit of dreaming up gods, unsurprisingly more  or less in their own image. Because it makes them feel better. But also because some saw a career in it, because it suited kings and priests.

Anyway the Christian story was written down some time after 1 AD by men. Because it made them feel better, and gave them a job.

But in a strange twist Christianity was born and nurtured within the body of the Roman Empire, a then exceptional political construct in its geographic extent.

So Christianity was fortuitously propagated, first by inhabiting this structure, and second, after centuries of persecution, by eventually converting its leadership, which saw advantages in the association.

Once in power, the Church quickly consolidated and grew, the institution based in Rome selling the Christian story to build its business, and enlisting monarchs like Charlemagne to the cause.

Thus the inherently sinful, flawed Man can only be saved by Jesus, and only then through the good services of the Church. And on the other hand if you don’t get saved the alternative is nasty. Like everlasting diabolical toasting.

It also suppressed perceived enemies, violently if necessary, albeit inconsistently, depending on practical politics of the time.

Thus it inveigled its way onto the bridge, in self-serving-  albeit unsteady – league with European kings, till people – shaken by the Black Death and becoming better educated – and some Churchmen eventually got sick of it and protested, triggering the Reformation. But, unphased, the Church met this not by “reform’ but a protracted and violent 16th and 17th C fightback.


Modernity .

But the 16th and 17th C science and thought revolutions took hold, European powers took to the seas to explore and engage the world, and Modernity slowly, painfully emerged.

Yes its gestation came at a terrible price, as Old Order predjudices and loyalties persisted, expressed in illiberal, quasi-religious We Know the Answer mentalities.

These regressive sympathies brought forth industrial scale slave exports to the New World, the Raj, the French Revolution, 19th C Western Imperial depredations, the US Civil War, and then two world wars and the Russian revolution and militant fascism, all in the 20th C.

Finally the once prominent Church was sidelined.

That’s now academic. What’s not academic is the Church now speciously trying to rewrite history, to appropriate the origins of democratic liberalism, for its own purposes, to try make it more relevant today.

It’s wrong. The Church fought freedom of thought, sometimes violently.


Democracy’s origins .

Rather democracy’s origins go back to old Greece (though the franchise was limited), partly thanks to the collapse of the Bronze Age civilizations (fortuitous climate change?) which disrupted the traditional tyranny of kings and priests, allowed room for a trading based free thinking economy to grow rapidly.

Then the dispersed Germanic and Norse tribal bands in north Europe, peripheral like the Greeks, seem important. Thus democracy finally emerged in Britain (also later in the Netherlands), where some Germanic tribes (and later Vikings)  migrated, again at the periphery, there surviving in part thanks to the protection of the English Channel.

There’s a topic, the role of geography in facilitating democracy.

Thus the bane of most lives throughout recorded history has been (authoritarian) kings / emperors, undemocratic, and usually co-operating with priests, propagating some self-serving religious ideology, which just happened also to allow for divine blessing of the rulers. The Christian Church played this game for some time.


Universal relevance?

Democratic liberalism – incorporating rule of law, representative democracy, freedom of expression, tolerance, and prosperity-inducing Government regulated private commercial markets – was by happenstance, trial and error, born in the “West”, as a propitious practical rational evidence-based way for humankind to collectively conduct its affairs.

But it is not inherently or uniquely “Western”. So arguably it has universal relevance.

But practical experience also shows, firstly, its success requires meaningful collective commitment, and secondly, it is vulnerable to being abused or denied by groups enlisting and promoting Old Order loyalties.

Belief in 132 words

FEATURED: Henri Matisse (1869-1954). 1914 (Sep.-Oct.) Porte-Fenetre a Collioure. French Window at Collioure, huile sur toile, 116.5 x 89.0 cm, Centre Pompidou, Paris


The problem with human fashioned, articulated god/gods is that they just don’t survive even a few moments honest rational reflection.

Opening one’s eyes. Leaving pre-conceptions on the boat.

Thus invented they are, because some see a good career in it, and because many are tempted by the tasty product in the window, like everlasting life and meeting your great grandparents, and/or are repelled, warned off by the alternative, like everlasting tribulation.

Some thoughtful old Greeks worked this out long ago.

Partly thanks to the collapse of the Bronze Age civilizations (fortuitous climate change?) they had escaped for a period the traditional tyranny of kings and priests.  Till Philip of Macedon galloped in and his son returned to the imperial project.

We just have to grow to love the mystery, ineffable impenetrable, relentless.

Take your pic.

Seascape with Storm Coming On circa 1840 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851

Seascape with Storm Coming On circa 1840 Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851 Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/N04445

JMW Turner (1776-1851).1840. Seascape with Storm Coming On, oil on canvas, 91.4 x 121.6 cm. Tate Britain.


Jackson Pollock (1912-56). 1953 The deep, 150.7 × 220.4 cm, Centre Pompidou, Paris.

Impressionism: colourful, coarse-brushed aesthetic distraction from modern life



FEATURED: JMW Turner (1770-1854) The Scarlet Sunset (c1830–40). Watercolour and gouache on paper, Support 13.4 x 18.9 cm, Tate Britain

Surely an Impressionist painting, but from about 34 years before the first Impressionist exhibition.



Claude Monet (1850-1920). 1869, La Grenouillère, oil on canvas 99.7 x 74.6 cm Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841-1919). 1869, La Grenouillère, Oil on canvas. 66.5 x 81 cm, Nationalmuseum, Stockholm.

Two pioneering “iconic” Impressionist paintings.


1/ The essence

  • Impressionism, as an art movement, has two aspects.
    • The historic French experience
    • A generic defintion.
  • It was a subset of Realism, aiming to capture transitory scenes, but with a strong aesthetic purpose.
  • Thus Impressionism was radical in its painting style but not modern in its content.
  • Rather it appealed as a nostalgic Neo-Romantic antidote to then emerging rude Modernity.
  • But avoiding the reality of Modernity in favour of Pretty Pictures was nonetheless a valid response? Remind us not to forget the aesthetic.
  • The main official Impressionist painters were „Impressionist“ in varying degrees.
  • And there were unofficial Impressionists, major painters who painted some Impressionist works.
  • From the Impressionist period arguably some of the best paintings were non-Impressionist? Because they said more.
  • Some earlier painters – proto-Impressionists – pointed to Impressionism? Like JMW Turner.
  • Impressionism spread beyond France. But less than is commonly canvassed. The term is now over-used for marketing purposes.


2/ Preamble – Impressionism the first major modern movement

Following Manet’s one man kick start of Modernism Impressionism led the modern art revolution from the mid 19th C, from late 1860s through c1880, for the protagonists as a conscious radical break from then mainstream art, especially as represented by the official Salons.

Thence Modernism marched on, fanned out in the late 19th C in a variety of reactions to Impressionism, first under the broad banner of Post Impressionism (cf Paul Gauguin, Van Gogh, the term coined 1910 by Roger Fry) in the 1880s, thence Neo-Impressionism (the Pointilism of Seurat et al), the Nabis, Symbolism and Expressionism (cf Munch).


3/ Dissecting the movement


A. Impressionism the historic experience and a defintion.

Impressionism as an art movement, has two aspects.

a/ The historic experience

First it applies to the historic experience, the paintings of a small group of loosely affiliated French artists over a period from the late 1860s to around 1880, but a group diverse in style and subject matter, some of whose art was Impressionist, and who werer united principally by their opposition to the then dominant Salons.

The group of about 9 painters, together with some other artists, exhibited at 7 official exhibitions over 12 years, 1874-1886.

Conventionally the movement concludes around the early 1880s, and was succeeded by Neo-Impressionism, a term coined  by critic Felix Feneon after at the 8th Impressionist show in 1886, where Seurat’s famous „Sunday Afternoon etc“ was hung.

Success came slowly, and especially helped by the single-minded commitment of dealer Paul Durand-Ruel (1831-1922) who held his first Impressionist show in London 1870, 4 years before the official launch. Later he successfully took the brand to New York.

b/ A generic defintion.

Secondly, from the original French experience we can extract a two point generic definition of the movement;

1/ content or subject. Impressionism can be seen as a subset of Realism.

Its essential aim was to depict the ephemeral here and now, the fleeting or transitory moment, especially natural effects outdoora, and especially appealing, stimulating light effects. Hence they mostly favoured outdoors plein air painting.

Their aim in depicting ephemeral scenes was to convey a version of reality, not apply some preconceived interpretation.

The main objective was overarchingly aesthetic, not instructive, not didactic or polemical or narratory. It was art for its own sake.

In a sense the Impressonists can be seen as heirs of the Barbizon Realists, except their main purpose was narrower, being aesthetic, whereas Barbizon painters had a wider mission, instructive, sometimes polemical.

2/ there was clearly an Impressionist painting style.

Pigment application, usually in oils, was 1/ loose, coarse textured, divisionist“.and 2/ generally more colourful.


B. Impressionism was radical in its style but not modern in its purpose….

The curious implication of points 1/and 2/ is that while the Impressionist movement was radical in its art style, in breaking from convention – was a modern avant-garde movement through its pioneering relaxed colorful painting style which jarred with the then favoured subdued traditional Salon styles – it was not  modern in its purpose and content.

Thus it did not deliberately seek to depict Modern Life, let alone engage instructively with it, seek to comment on modern life. They did paint some recogniseable scenes from modern life (eg like Monet (1840-1926) and Gare St Lazare in Paris, like Pissarro (1830-1903) in his later street scenes from Paris, also Rouen), but more for the aesthetic possibilities. Also Pissarro painted his many city images later when coping with reduced mobility.


C. … rather it appealed as a nostalgic antidote to then emerging, burgeoning rude Modernity.

So in broad terms the purpose of its painting was not modern or progressive, but rather the reverse. Its focus on the aesthetic was fundamentally Neo-Romantic.

And one could go further and argue that for some of its leaders (Monet, Pissarro, Sisley) their aesthetic mission was a reactionary, anti-modern gesture, seeking therapeutic escape from, an antidote to, the blunt noisy disruption caused by emering Modernity, the sudden 19th C eruption and spread of industrial and urban life.

After famously struggling for recognition in the early days, championed by lone figures like the dealer Paul Durand-Ruel, eventually Monet and his friends were proved right.

Thus Impressionism‘s eventual success was fanned precisely by avoiding the modern world, the travails of modern life, and rather by dishing up mostly fetching atmospheric rural nostalgia.

The Pretty Pictures were entertaining nostalgic pleasurable visual distractions from the unpleasant side effects of burgeoning modern industrial life, easy to swallow, to „understand“,

And the movement remains widely popular today for the same reason, for aesthetic distraction from the pace and intensity of modern life.



For some Impressionists the aesthetic mission persisted, grew more important with time, particularly for Monet, the most famous exemplar. Thus his outdoors landscapes generally became less descriptive and more stylised, pursuing the aesthetic criterion, climaxing at Giverny early in the following century. Pissarro also stayed close to the aesthetic mission.

It’s ironic that one reason for the lush colorful floral vegetation at Asnières-sur-Seine,  just north of Paris, evident in Monet’s 1880 painting of his garden at Vétheuil, is the then growing discharge of sewage effluent into the Seine!


D. Avoiding reality, Modernity‘s wider impact, was nonetheless a valid response?

Impressionism’s aesthetic preoccupation basically avoided engaging with Modernity, its obvious disruption to traditional life, the costs as well as benefits.

Was this in a sense irresponsible? Because it avoided ‚reporting the facts“?

But it can be argued this response was valid because firstly it indeed gave the viewers some visual satifaction, relief from the ugliness, and second, it reminded viewers of the importance of having an aesthetic component in a balanced life?

This latter view, the virtue of the aesthetic, was the hallmark of Henri Matisse’s art two generations later.


E. The main Impressionists were „Impressionist“ in varying degrees…..

Looking at the cadre of the original French Impressionist painters the generic definition of Impressionism applied to varying degrees to the main protagonists, more to painters like Monet, Pissarro and Sisley, sometimes to Renoir, but less to Degas.

Thus for each painter not all their works were ‚Impressionist‘.

Among the main Impressionists Edgar Degas (1834-1917) was the most different. By far his favourite subject for the „ephemeral moment“ was not a spring hillside or a weather affected sky but a classical dance studio, or performance theatre. He dismissed plein air painting. He painted many people, in portraits or group interiors.

And he never embraced the colorful divisionist Impressionist style of paint application.

Pierre- Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) painted a number of Impressionist masterworks, some Impressionist works till near his end, but also painted lots more people, even Wagner in 1882.


F. … and there were two major contemporary painters not labelled Impressionists who painted some Impressionist works.

The important contemporary painter, the transposed American JM Whistler (1834-1903), painted some clearly Impressionistic images in his so-called nocturnes, mainly in London, works which above all were trying to capture an atmospheric moment, if not wholly in the Impressionistic „divisionist“ style. But he was in no way an„officially“ part of the Impressionist movement.

The pionering Modernist Edouard Manet (1834-1903), painted some clearly Impressionist works, but rejected approaches to join the official group. He remained his own man and arguably painted better for it, many of his works having a far wider purpose than boats on the sunny Seine.


G. From the Age of Impressionism some of the non-Impressionist works said much more?

Notwithstanding the subsequent popularity of a High Impressionists like Monet, the works of many other contemporary painters – Impressionist and non- Impressionist – were arguably more important and interesting precisely for their non-Impressionist content? Because they said much more.

This includes particularly many paintings by Manet (eg The Railway of 1873), and also by the masterly Paul Cezanne (1839-1906), and Edgar Degas, and also the someime Impressionist Gustave Caillebotte (1848-94).


H. Proto-Impressionists? Some earlier painters pointed to Impressionism?

Some work by some precursors might be called proto-Impressionist, particularly by JMW Turner (1775-1851), but also occasionally by John Constable (1776-1837).

Clearly many of Turner’s later atmospheric „ethereal“ works are Impressionist in their aesthetic intent, their capturing evanescent atmospheric effects, and even in their fragmented painting style.


Impressionism spread beyond France. But less than is commonly promoted.

Impressionism as a movement was very influential. Many painters beyond France picked up the style to a greater or lesser extent.

Thus there is mention of „Impressionism“ in the US, Britain, even Germany, Australia and Scandinavia.

However the term is often applied too loosley, applied to art which does not really fit the generic definition.

Many so called „Impressionist“ works are more naturalistic, in painting style.

This is basically done for marketing reasons, to take advantage of the now pervasive popularity of the French movement, ironic considering its slow beginnings.


I. The original cast…

From the „official“ Impressionist painters, ie who were hung at any of the 7 official exhibitions, the popularly accepted 5 main historic protagonists were Edgar Degas / Claude Monet / Camille Pissarro / Pierre-Auguste Renoir / Alfred Sisley.

And on the periphery were 4 others: Frederic Bazille / Gustave Caillebotte / Alphonse Guillaumin / Berthe Morisot.

However the definitional boundary is grey and beyond the „official“ list other important contemporary artists who also painted Impressionist works were Edouard Manet and Paul Cezanne, and also Dutch landscapist JB Jongkind (1819-91, ie 21 years older than Monet) and JM Whistler (1834-93, 6 years older)




JMW Turner (1775-1851) 1842, Snow Storm: Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth, oil on canvas, 91 cm × 122 cm, Tate Britain.

A precursor to Impressionism, and abstraction.


Claude Monet (1840-1926), 1872, Impression, Sunrise, oil on canvas, 48 X 63cm, Muséem Marmottan Monet, Paris.

The painting which gave the cause its name.



Camille Pissarro (1830-1903). c1871, All Saints’ Church, Upper Norwood (London), gouache on paper 18.2 x 22.8 cm, Private Collection


JM Whistler (1834-1903). c1872-73, Nocturne; Battersea Bridge, pastel on brown paper, 18.1 x 27.94 cm, Freer Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

Two from London, one by an unofficial Impressionist artist.



Paul Cezanne (1839-1906). 1873-74, A Modern Olympia, 46 x 55.5 cm, Musée d’Orsay.


Alfred Sisley (1839-1899), 1874, Regatta at Molesey, 66 × 91.5cm, Musée d’Orsay, Paris..

Cezanne’s image hung in the inaugural 1874 exhibition and is certainly impressionistic. Sisley was a front rank but narrow official Impressionist painter.



Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841-1919). Dance in the Moulin de la Galette (Bal du moulin de la Galette), 1876, Oil on canvas, 131 x 175 cm, Musée d’Orsay, Paris


Giuseppe De Nittis (1846–1884). 1878. Westminster Bridge. Pinacoteca De Nittis, Barletta, Italy

 Renoir liked painting people, and well, far more than some of the others. The Italian painter worked in Paris.



Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) 1879, Seascape Near Berneval, oil on canvas, 54 x 65.4 cm. Private.


c 1916, Anenomes, oil on canvas, 14 × 31 cm, Museum of John Paul II Collection (Porczyński Gallery).

 The prolific Renoir painted some landscapes, and later, when old, a number of Impressionist floral scenes.



Claude Monet 1891 Poplars on the Banks of the Epte, oil on canvas 100 x 65 cm Private


Claude Monet, 1899-1901. Charing Cross Bridge, London, Saint Louis Art Museum.

Later Impressionist works by Monet.



Max Liebermann (1847-1935). 1918. The birch avenue in Wannsee Garden, looking west, 85.5x 106cm, Hannover


Claude Monet, 1920–22, The Japanese Footbridge, 89.5 x 116.3 cm, MOMA

A much later German Impressionist painting, by then nostalgic, by when the avant-garde had raged far ahead, into abstraction and Cubism.

And a very late work by the unrelenting narrowly focussed Giverny-based Monet, now bordering on abstraction.

Wither the “Western” liberal model?

Wither the “Western” liberal model?

Affray and ruin? No. Just the start.

Cheer up. Do not underestimate unleashed humankind’s Reason and curiosity.


All men desire to know (Aristotle)


Quel temps pour être en vie! (What a time to be alive!) (French, anonymous)


We’re all riding on this freight train,

Made of rocks and sticks and mortar…….

Well the driver’s sleepin’ at the wheel,

Maybe there just aint no driver…….

We’re all ridin through this emptiness,

You just got trust your neighbour..   (T Bones Band)


FEATURED, The first Modern Man? Odysseus refuses immortality.

Sir William Russell Flint  (1880-1969), 1907, CALYPSO AND ODYSSEUS, oil on canvas, 101.5 by 127 cm.


The fork in the road?!


John Martin 1852, The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah , oil on canvas, 136 x 212cm.


Henri Matisse 1953 Memory of Oceania 284.4 x 286.4 cm, Moma, Gouache on paper, cut and pasted, and charcoal on
paper mounted on canvas


  • There is currently much pessimism on the future of the “Western” liberal model, particularly from within the camp, some extreme, like talk of Europe “committing suicide”.
  • It’s easy to get downhearted, if you lose perspective.
  • This gloom appears misplaced, misses perspective, the wider context of Modernity.
  • Modernity’s breakout – driven by the “Western” liberal model – is epochal, the biggest transitional shift in humankind’s history, a 5 million year event.
  • It has brought unimaginable Progress, material and otherwise, including an explosion in knowledge, and also cultural expression.
  • But it’s a Faustian bargain. The genie is out, no going back. Relentless competitive curiosity is now unleashed.
  • It will likely bring further Progress, but the outcome will be messy, sub-optimal, because:
    • a/ of inherent reactionary resistance from Old Order interests, attitudes, thus facilitated by:
      • Man’s appetite for the Otherworldly / supernatural,
      • Man’s nostalgic attraction to tradition, including racism and social class.
    • b/ adjusting to, coping with the relentless economic and associated change is painful. A Sisyphean burden?
    • c/ self-serving sociopathic autocrats will always try exploit unrest engendered by change.
  • Also there is risk of dangerous “mishaps” which can have drastic near term consequences, like WW1, and, recently, the 2003 Iraq intervention.
  • However one transformational positive outcome of the breakout is that humankind now has meaningful collective technical prowess to react to natural challenges, especially like climate change, which factor has had such dramatic consequences in the past, like killing the Bronze Age.
  • Though, oddly, the end of the Bronze Age then midwived the radical proto-modern experience that was Classical Greece.


Prognosis for the “West”? Tears all round?

Many informed current observers are negative if not desperate in their outlook for the West, the “Western” liberal model.

Thus Mr Pankaj Mishra in the London Review of Books (21 September 2017) reviews a clutch of recent books wrestling with a topic that doesn’t get much bigger, the future of the Liberal West, including its relationship with the rest of the world, books like: The Retreat of Western Liberalism (Edward Luce), The Fate of the West: Battle to Save the World’s Most Successful Political Idea (Bill Emmott), The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics (Mark Lilla), The Road to Somewhere: The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics (David Goodhart) and especially The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam (Douglas Murray). Greg Sheridan (in The Australian, 21 Sep.2017) reviews the last book approvingly in an aticle headlined Angela Merkel signals ruin for Europe.

All these books, by commentators well disposed to the West, take a dim even “Apocalyptic” view of prospects and in conclusion Mr Mishra – a fierce adversary of the liberal construct, known for castigating the depredatory excesses of “Liberal capitalism”, both inside and imperialistically outside – tags the authors as reactionaries, then (unfairly, illogically) lumps them with the Charlottesville white suprematists as all missing “the ancien regime”.

These writers join many past political philosophers pessimistic on the West’s future.

The pessimists  fall into two broad camps:

1/ nostalgic reactionaries who cannot see the West succeeding if it abandons certain Old Order precepts, especially the Christian story. Per the recent book by Mark Lilla these might be called Shipwrecked Minds;

2/ wary supporters who don’t see the Western model having the wherewithal and resilience to survive its foes.


Perspective: long prologue for Modernity

It’s a long and intriguing story and it’s worth outlining as perspective before attempting a prognosis.

Arguably it started with the old Greeks, as an outstanding if not unique early case of proto-democracy, and of thinkers prepared to slough off traditional religious frameworks (usually incorporated into some secular autocratic power structure) in asking frank questions about their world, their natural world, and Man’s conduct of his collective social affairs.

Interestingly this occurred within the context of an apparently prosperous strongly growing, competitive, trade-oriented, quasi-democratic economy, until they were eclipsed by infighting then by the Macedonians.

After a long hiatus – most notable for the remarkable 600 year experience of old republican cum imperial Rome, then, as it succumbed to voluminous waves of eastern incursions, the fortuitous leg up Rome’s large footprint  gave to Christianity’s spread – the immediate pathway to Modernity finally arose in Europe with the 18th C Enlightenment, crucially building on the 17th C scientific revolution and the associated philosophical upheaval, again in the context of a growing economy, of rising literacy, the printing press, and especially of ongoing and growing questioning of the Christian Church’s authority, which dated back especially to the 14th C upheaval of Black Death.

Arguably too, and somewhat analogous to the ancient Greek experience, the roots of the liberal breakout in Europe lay far back in Anglo-Saxon England, where the quasi-democratic practices of immigrant Germanic tribes evolved to restrain monarchs (cf Magna Carta 1215), and the moot evolved into parliament as a representative institution.

Then arguably the modern liberal economy was born in 17th C Netherlands – its secular competitive ingenuity honed and stimulated by fighting off the regressive Old Order Spanish empire – which helped to nourish the takeoff soon after in England.

A familiar precis.


Modernity’s troubled gestation

However, stepping back, we see the emergence of Modernity has been protracted and intensely painful, compromised by two major sets of factors.


The first is “unenlightened” reactionary  Old Order behaviour, expressed through concerted fightback, reflecting still potent traditional self-interests, appetites, loyalties and attitudes, religious (particularly theistic / theocratic) and nationalistic and racial.

First after the late 16th C religious wars in France, following the early 16th C Reformation,  the 17th C saw central Europe engulfed by the Thirty Years War (1618-48), as the violent and fruitless culmination of the Counter-Reformation, ie the Rome-based Catholic Church, led by the Papacy, in league with sympathetic secular leaders fiercely resisting the Protestant Reformation.


Oddly, alongside this reactionary fightback, there emerged in the Netherlands a small but dynamic pocket of progressive proto-modernity, a republican government atop a buoyant growing innovative competitive economy and a vibrant secular culture patronised not by the Church or monarchs but mainly by increasingly prosperous private people.


But the Old Order viewpoints persisted.

Thus the late 18th C bright New World adventure of the United States – its revolutionary secession from the British Empire, consciously launched as it was with laudable Enlightenment aspirations – was tragically compromised from the start by the bad Old Order ways.

Thus the founders instead established de facto a “selective democracy”, inconsistent with Enlightenment ideals, as they clung to slavery, big time, in the South, where about 5 million whites “oversaw” about 4 million enslaved blacks, basically for the money, fortuitously feeding cotton to a Europe then booming, ironically thanks to its “modern”industrial take off.

Alongside this the US governments violently evicted the native Americans, again for commercial gain.


Meanwhile similar Old Order priorities also saw ambitious large scale European imperialist colonial adventures in the 19th century, also, like the USA, with a racist flavour, ie particularly in India, plus a raft of interventions in Africa and elsewhere.


But then secondly, in tragic hugely destructive blowback, these residual reactionary attitudes also gave us WW1, as traditional Old Order European rivalries which had plagued the continent for centuries resurfaced, only, ironically, now among nations that much better armed and resourced militarily owing to the economically productive industrial take off. So an old fashioned war was fought with modern weaponry, multiplying the tragedy.

Some paint WW1 as the inevitable resolution of growing tensions in Europe, but ultimately it only happened after a match was thrown, and the relevant supervising politicians misread the total circumstances.


The second major complication has been enterprising sociopathic autocrats or dictators, history’s Bad Boys, exploiting the social unrest / chaos engendered by the modernizing process, again with calamitous results, thinking here of the three great “modern” revolutions (France, Russia and China), the latter two both midwived by world wars.

So the French Revolution gave us the Terror then Napoleon.

The Russian (Bolshevik) Revolution, sprouting from WW1 induced chaos there , brought forth Lenin and Stalin.

Then WW1, crucially compounded by the Depression, also gave us Hitler.

Finally the Chinese Revolution gave us Mao.

Bad Boys, like Genghis Khan, have always worried history but the Modernity’s wider better resourced context gave them much richer pastures.


Some desperate Christian critics of the Enlightenment like to blame it and atheism for these totalitarian nightmares but quite the reverse is the case. Thus the astute Great Dictators, taking advantage of the unrest, each resorted to Old Order ways to legitimise their fiercely illiberal anti-democratic regimes, each propagating quasi-religious regime supporting ideologies.

Thus it’s often rightly remarked that the post-Tsarist Russian experience – both Soviet and now Putin – is really just neo-Tsarist, rule by the traditional strong man.


Outcome:  Humankind’s technological break-out! An epic watershed. A 5 million year event!

The gestation was unimaginably painful but it’s now clear Modernity has delivered humankind a species-shaking watershed, an historic breakout from eons of impoverished struggle.

Technologically impelled per capita economic growth has delivered:

a/ mass prosperity, for first time in the species 5m year history, notwithstanding unfinished business,

b/ a leap in life span, longevity,

c/ a leap in quantums of leisure time,

d/ a reduction in the intensity (per capita) of intra-species violence, notwithstanding (as various researchers have observed) the 20th C setback.

e/ in most “Western” countries, much improved governance in conduct of private economic affairs, especially corporations, eg see “When Corruption and Venality Were the Lifeblood of America”, (review by Sean Wilentz NY Times,  19 Sep. 2017 of The United States During Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, 1865-1896, Richard White, Oxford). “White’s book ought to worsen its [The Gilded Age] already dismal reputation for sordidness and rapacity.” White’s earlier work includes “a scathing exposé of the giant post-Civil War transcontinental railroads”.

Altogether it is by far the most dramatic single change in collective circumstances in the species 5 million years history.


Outcome: now humankind capacity to respond to climate change

The other incredible outcome is that for the first time in its 5 million year history humankind can use its new collective technical prowess to react to natural challenges, especially like climate change, which phenomenon has had such dramatic consequences for homo sapiens in the past, starting of course with the inter-glacial global warming c14,000 years ago which allowed Man to blossom. Then in recorded time there have been other portentous climate interventions, like the droughts that ended the Old Kingdom in Egypt, the Maya, but particularly whatever happened c1200BC to kill off a bunch of Bronze Age civilisations in the Eastern Mediterranean.

One fascinating speculation is that the end of the Bronze Age appears to have then helped father, make space for, the eventual extraordinary proto-modern Classical Greek effloresecence (Josiah Ober’s term), a clear progenitor of the modernizing breakout in Europe near two milleniaia later.


Outlook: the Faustian bargain. No getting off the train: Man’s curiosity unleashed

However the uncovering by ingenius humankind – finally- of Modernity, can be cast as a Faustian bargain.

Modernity brings a bounty. The cup runneth over.

But it comes with a catch.


Firstly, now the process is unleashed there is no turning back, no leaving the train. Technological innovation is out of the box and humankind’s unleashed self-serving competitive curiosity will keep driving change.  We’re riding the Tyger.


Second, Modernity, driven by technical change, brings relentless economic and related changes, bringing winners but always some direct losers. So adjustment to change is constant and painful, a Sisyphean challenge.


Third, the Old Order does not go quietly, many cling to it. Modernity’s assault on, undermining and swallowing of the Old Order, tradition, is painful and disruptive.

There is a range of reactions, from active fightback to resignation.

A measure of reactionary resistance from Old Order interests, attitudes, seems inherent, reflected in Man’s appetite for the Otherworldly / supernatural,

Organised religion, well meaning or otherwise has exploited this predilection.

For many people there is tantalising appeal in belief in the “irrational”, as an antidote to the travails of life in this world, particularly among poorer and less educated people.

TS Eliot wrote in Burnt Norton, “.. human kind / Cannot bear very much reality


For some there is also nostalgic attraction to tradition, including racism and social class.


Aged only 20 Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (Mary Shelley, daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-97) published Frankenstein in 1818, as the Industrial Revolution gathered pace but was still young. It is rightly billed as a Romantic novel, reacting to the 18th C Age of Reason, an allegorical comment on the dangers of Modernity, what can go wrong.


Outlook: four propositions favouring the “Western” liberal model

It’s working

First, despite its long and painful gestation, the Unintended Consequences of Old Order resistance from within, and despite stern opposition from antagonistic threatened external forces (like the Soviet Union, the USSR, for about 45 years during the Cold War, now like the Islamist rebellion and Putin’s neo-Soviet Russia), self-evidently the Western model has delivered, is delivering


An optimum modus operandi?

Second, perhaps controversially, heroically, there’s an argument that the secular Liberal democrat model (LDM), ragged and imperfect though it may be, is basically the optimum way, the go to way, for humankind to conduct its collective affairs, and is “Western” only in sense it happened to emerge there.

So it has universal appeal or relevance akin to natural laws of physics and other sciences, and as illustrated by its take-up beyond the home countries.

A curious observation in world affairs is how many patently non or anti-democratic countries pay lip service to the “Western” model, in many of their public announcements, and also in their theatrical efforts to maintain a pretence of democracy at home, through courts, conducting some version of parliament, holding elections etc.


Inherent appeal to most educated people?

Third, supporting the second point, there’s a case that this model will have inherent appeal to a majority of educated people almost everywhere, people generally attracted to a rule of law / governance based competitive but compassionate, tolerant, democratic, rights ruled way of life.

Why? Because ultimately the the number of Good People exceeds Bad People.


This proposition is supported by history’s outcome, particularly post WW2

Obviously the core West, as in Europe and the US (and direct outliers like Canada and Australia), basically subscribes to this model and will continue to.

But particularly post WW2 the model has spread – to a greater or lesser extent – beyond the home counties, especially to parts of Asia (notably Japan, India then Korea, Indonesia, Thailand etc), and also to parts of the Americas beyond the US and Canada. The outcomes in different cases vary, are not all mirror images of Westminster, but significant nonetheless.

In particular, after the egregious practical failure of the Red Road, we have seen populous China abruptly embrace the market economic part of the “Western” liberal model, with dramatic economic and now wider consequences. Their economic modus operandi might come from an Economist essay, though of course they still keep tight reins politically, wherever that might lead.


Outlook: Europe and Islam? Western model will prevail.

Regarding alarm over Islamic migration into Europe, the talk of an existential threat, the fundamental issue is how the imported “culture” will interact.

The  influx of refugees to Europe will obviously shift the complexion of society, render it more cosmopolitan and diverse, but ultimately, and crucially, the first loyalty of the majority of the newcomers in time will likely be to some version of the progressive liberal “Western” model, not to some imported antithetical ideological regime, religious or otherwise.

Thus end of the day the “Western” model, based on reason, freedom and tolerance, seems a far greater threat to the “ten pound weakling” that is regressive Old Order illiberal theocratic Islam than vice versa.

This prospect for Europe recalls the dramatic “cultural” transformations occasioned by non-European inward migration experienced  by the US starting some while ago and by Australia in recent decades.

Islam may prove harder to digest but digested it will be, another illustration of a striking and irresistible outcome of ongoing Modernity, the swallowing of traditional cultures, or mind-sets, one way or the othert.


Outlook: much better than many think?

Where from now?

Is the outlook really so dark for the Liberal West?

Far from it. Rather, based on the demonstrated success to date of the “Western” liberal model, there is a strong case for dogged Whiggish optimism.

Barring unexpected exogenous mishaps the likely overall long term prognosis for the West is far from gloomy.

Progress remains likely, in terms of economic and social outcomes, if not always smoothly.


Outlook: but messy. Challenges of adjustment will remain, are endemic?

However the outcome will always remain turbulent to a degree, messy and sub-optimal.


Technological changeis now relentless, driven by humankind’s competitive self-interested curiosity, commercial and otherwise. This change has underwritten rising prosperity globally, and, crucially, for the first time in millions of years of history, will help humankind respond to natural challenges like climate shift.

But it also necessitates constant economic adjustment which is painful for those directly affected.


First the two major factors that impaired Modernity’s gestation remain alive, evident today, are more or less  inherent, ie

a/ an irrational if understandable appetite for the therapeutic Otherworldly (religion (eg violent theocratic Islamism) and otherwise),

and b/ residual (if spurious) belief in race and class carrying inherited differentiating characteristics ,

The Radical Enlightenment, arguing the case to its logical conclusion,  attacked both.


Second, posterity will always have to cope with Bad Boys.


Outlook: risks of “mishaps”, an their Unintended Consequences.

There’s a case that WW1 need not have happened. However once triggered, by a sequence of events starting in Sarajevo, the Unintended Consequences were devastating, especially for all those directly affected, the victims and their families.

The ill-fated 2003 US intervention in Iraq (compounded by Libya 2011) is shaping as another major unnecessary “mishap”, with costly Unintended Consequences. For some protgonists the intervention was well-intentioned, seeking to evict violent dictators but reality is it has unleashed a sustained violent backlash from Old Order interests. Thus it has stoked intra-Islamic Shia-Sunni violence, and has triggered resentful Islamist violence against the West. The strong Old Order religious reality is that Iraq was no candidate for early adoption of anything like the “Western” liberal model.

However Modernity survived WW1 (and its corollaries like the Russian Revolution), and will survive the 2003 intervention, if at a cost.

However the rise of China, in particular, has for some resurrected the so called Thucydides Trap, the notion that its rise will somehow bring inevitable conflict with the US as the pre-eminent global power (much as ancient Athens and Sparta squared off, disastrously). WW1 is another popular example, with then Europebeing unable to accommodate peacefully the rise of Germany.

Yes there are dangers accommodating China but China has a pressing interest in avoiding serious conflict.

Cracking Jasper: Pop Corn art


FEATURED IMAGE: Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009). 1951. Trodden Weed, Philadelpia Museum of Art


Reflections upon reading, Jasper Johns: “Take an object. Do something to it. Do something else to it.”. The long read, By Barbara Rose. Published 7 September 2017. Royal Academy Magazine.


  • Means whatever you want? Pop Corn Art.

  • All this name-dropping. Starts to grate?

  • Critics can’t help themselves.

  • But art is also a business.


The art means what?

It came to me jogging.

What is the man actually saying? What does this heterodox flurry of images mean?

Answer, whatever you want. Like a candy store, there’s something for everyone.

It’s Feet Up art for the leisured generation.

So it mirrors the age.


Rummaging the treasure chest. Starts to grate?

One can have a problem with young Jasper.

Some way into Ms Rose’s panegyric, as a Mr Johns work “quotes” yet another art history icon, I was reminded of Democrat Senator Lloyd Bentsen’s now famous rejoinder to Republican Senator Dan Quayle in the US 1988 VP debate. `Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.’

As we see how the hatching in Munch’s Self portrait by chance matches Mr Johns use of it, after, the story goes, he spotted it on a passing bus.

In the same vein we are reminded of the work of another postwar American “giant”, Mr Cy Twombly, who also indulged a lazy sustained penchant for shamelessly tapping, “quoting” history, in an apparently banal, glib or obscure way,

So one thinks, in both cases, how about a blind tasting?

Assemble a panel of well informed “experts” unfamiliar with the work of CT or JJJ, show them a bunch of relevant images, then ask them to jot down what references each image might suggest: literary, historic, artistic etc.

So I wonder how many might find in JJJ… the Isenheim Altarpiece? Munch’s Self portrait? Not to mention Proust! And Hart Crane, William Faulkner, etc etc.

The Isenheim Altarpiece?? Isn’t it kind of sacrilegious to blithely cite this iconic work?


Lazy, feet up, follow your nose art, for the TV generation.

You live long enough, stay busy, keep pouring out visual encounters of a diverse and wondrous kind, permutations of which allow vastly more possibilities, and soon there’s enough material to keep legions of agile energetic minds occupied searching connections and meaning.

One likes the quip about André Gide! Like a wise quarry, play hard to get.

And you laugh near the end too, coming across the artist one Barnett Newman, a remarkable but dare I say successful diligent self-promoter (with help from a dutiful wife), labouring tirelessly to coax profound meaning from his trademark trouser aid motif. And labouring “heroically” too one gathers.

Well this heavy adverb might fit far better, for example, the work of an elderly lady Australian indigenous artist called Sally Gabori who died a year or so back, whose best work, also abstract, could easily hold its own against the AbEx leaders and also be effortlessly authentic.

So, unfashionably, Mr Andrew Wyeth’s 1951 Trodden Weed might beat any image here by JJJ?

There’s nothing in principle against contemporary art, so long as it says something, shows constructive purpose.


The critics let rip: into overdrive, no brakes!

Rather, he is great because, somehow, he accesses and articulates, in a gorgeous, sensual manner, mysteries that, for the rest of us, are unfathomable. …..

Indeed, many of his paintings have an arcane, rabbinical quality.

Like a priest, he seems to be in possession of great wisdom and spiritual insight into fundamental aspects of our existence.

We may employ a different phrase, and say that he taps, rapturously, into something divine…” Per A. Mr Sooke in the Daily Telegraph.

Lucky I was sitting down when I read this.

Yes well.

As I say, try a blind tasting and see how many tick, Divine hues, or Rabbinical overtones, or Hints of unfathomable mysteries.

Something here of that story about the Emperor who forgot his clothes?


Yes we need to remember art is also a business. The artists, the museums, the critics, the private commercial galleries, the auction houses. And for a small coterie of artists their output is big business. Lots of noughts.

So we have what the governance manual calls, conflict of interest.


Cheer up. Modernity is a wonderful thing

Finally as a Whig optimist, now unfashionable in many quarters, one smiles at the gloomy reactionary pessimism near the end of the RA essay, “the technology-dominated…. world threatened with extinction because of human greed, brutality and ignorance”. This is misleading, elitist and probably dead wrong.

Ask the billions of people today who can now access sewage facilities thanks to “technology”.


A tasting….


Between the Clock and the Bed, 1981.  Oil on canvas. 182.9 x 320.7 cm. Collection of the artist


Edvard Munch (1863-1944) Self-portrait. Between the clock and the bed, 1940-43, 120.5 x 149.5 cm, Munch Museum, Oslo, Norway


Sally Gabori (c1924- March 2015). 2008, Dibirdibi Country, synthetic polymer paint on linen, 200 x 600 cm, Queensland Art Gallery.