Four Pink Lilies and Poppies
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Nolde was interested in the work of Van Gogh, whose floral studies inspired Nolde’s own depictions of flower arrangements. Nolde was one of the founding Expressionists, and his exploration of colour as a source of emotion is evident in the bursts of vibrant colour in this study of lilies and poppies. The artist has built up the piece with layers of thin watercolour washes. In the background the palest region is behind the highest lilies, perhaps composed this way to make them our clear focal point. The edges of the background and the stems of the arranged flowers are the result of only one or two layers of paint, making them more controlled and cleaner than the wilder, spreading colours of the flower heads. In the poppies we see how Nolde has blended one shade of red into another, harnessing watercolour’s characteristics. The heads of the lilies have a very dark top layer which brings out the details of the stigma and stamen and the flower’s deep pink colour. Although asymmetrical, The piece achieves a sense of balance, as the weighty bottom left is more than matched by the light and bright lilies in the opposite corner.