In 1952, at his first solo exhibition at Galerie Commetter in Hamburg, Herbert Beck (1920-2010) briefly met Emil Nolde (1867-1956), master of German Expressionism. As a longstanding admirer of Nolde’s works, especially watercolors, Beck decided to change his palette, leaving behind the somber tones influenced by the tragedy of the Second World War. The young man then studied and chose to reproduce the brilliance of Nolde’s hues in a personal and unique way.
The exhibition Power of Color was dedicated to Nolde’s influence over Beck and was hosted at the Gabriele and Anna Braglia Foundation in Lugano until 16th December. The exhibition consisted of thirty-nine works by Nolde and thirty-three by Beck amid the core of works owned by the Braglia family. The project was made possible through collaboration with the Stiftung Seebüll Ada und Emil Nolde, the Nachlass Herbert Beck, the Renate und Friedrich Johenning Stiftung, and the Olbricht Collection, including loans from private collectors.
The idea of putting together the work of one of the most significant watercolorists of the 20th century with that of a second-generation Expressionist artist arose following an art fair in Monte Carlo in 2004, where Anna and Gabriele Braglia first came across Herbert Beck’s miniatures. When the Braglia saw Beck’s watercolors, they thought they were Nolde’s. Nolde had no pupils and is now exhibited in leading museums around the world. Over the years, the young Beck enriched the wet-on-wet technique on thick handmade paper to be able to apply watercolor densely and achieve intense, luminous coloration.