1906 Emil Nolde Etching
Appraised Value: $10,000 - $15,000
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:45)
Prints & Posters
Director, Works of Art on Paper
Swann Auction Galleries
GUEST: I bought it at a yard sale in Washington, D.C., about ten years ago.
APPRAISER: How much did you get it for?
GUEST: Ten dollars.
APPRAISER: And what do you know about it?
GUEST: I looked him up on the Internet. I know he is a German Impressionist.
GUEST: That's about it.
APPRAISER: All right, well, the artist, who has signed it down here, his name is Emil Nolde. He was a German Expressionist artist. He was at the vanguard of a movement known as German Expressionism in the early 1900s, in which these artists imbued their works with a great deal of emotion and expression. He made etchings, woodcuts, lithographs. This is an etching. And it's a portrait of his wife, whose name was Ada Nolde, A-D-A. So it's a very early, intimate, introspective look at his wife by somebody who's considered one of the more famous German artists of this period. His prints are very, very scarce-- notoriously scarce, in fact. When the Nazis came into power in Germany during World War II, he was considered a degenerate artist, and most of the work of his that could be found was collected and destroyed. So surviving examples of his etchings, lithographs, woodcuts, drawings and paintings are extremely scarce.
APPRAISER: You can see the number down here, "3". That's number three out of an edition of approximately 20.
GUEST: Oh, wow.
APPRAISER: So can't exaggerate too much the scarcity of this.
APPRAISER: Also, almost illegible in this very, very tight, tiny script is the name of the printer, Otto Felsing, who worked in Berlin and actually printed this for Nolde in 1906. So you have an etching by one of the preeminent German Expressionist artists that, lo and behold, you found at a garage sale for ten dollars. (laughs) That's pretty extraordinary. Nolde was an extremely experimental printmaker, and a lot of artists, German artists who came after him, were much influenced by this experiment. He made this etching and inked it so heavily and used a lot of sort of punchwork here on the figure and had it printed not just in a black ink, but sort of a bluish-black ink. It's a moody thing. Because of the scarcity of his work, how important an artist he is, we would estimate this, at auction, for around $10,000 to $15,000.
APPRAISER: So you did a great job finding this in a garage sale. Congratulations.
GUEST: That is very exciting. Thank you very much.
APPRAISER: It's a wonderful work of art.
GUEST: Wow. (chuckles) Wonderful.
APPRAISER: I hope you're blown away, I'm a bit blown away.
GUEST: (laughs) I am totally blown away. I did not expect that.
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2013 WGBH Educational Foundation.
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.