Rolf Nesch

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Elbe Bridge I (1932)

Rolf (Emil Rudolf) Nesch (January 7, 1893 - October 27, 1975) was an expressionist artist, especially noted for his printmaking. Born in Germany, he moved to Norway following the Nazi takeover in 1933.


Nesch was born in Esslingen am Neckar, and studied at the academy in Dresden from 1912 to 1914. He then participated in World War I, but was taken prisoner by the British. In 1929 he settled in Hamburg to continue his painting career, influenced by expressionism in general, especially Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Edvard Munch.[1]

Upon the Nazi takeover in Germany in 1933, Nesch repatriated to Norway.[1] Inspired by Norwegian scenery and working life,[1] he discarded canvas and paintbrushes for good, and produced the following year his first so-called material picture, and also took up sculpture. Apart from drawing, which was his natural tool and means of expression throughout, it was printmaking he devoted himself to most continuously and over the greatest number of years. And it is as printmaker that Rolf Nesch made his most significant contribution, not merely as a technical innovator who discovered the potential in new materials and methods, but also from the artistic point of view.

Nesch was granted Norwegian citizenship in 1946. The National Gallery of Norway owns eleven material pictures, three sculptures as well as other graphic by Rolf Nesch.[1] He was appointed a Commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav[citation needed] and awarded the Swedish Prince Eugen Medal.

Nesch died in 1975 in Oslo. The Nesch Museum opened in 1993 in Ål, where he had lived for twenty-five years, to commemorate his hundredth anniversary.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d "Nesch, Rolf". Store norske leksikon. Kunnskapsforlaget. 2007. 
  2. ^ The Nesch Museum

Further reading[edit]

  • Helliesen, Sidsel and Sørensen, Bodil: The Complete Graphic Works, Milano/Oslo 2009
  • Eivind Otto Hjelle, Rolf Nesch Oslo 1998.
  • Eva Wiik, Min venn Rolf Nesch, Oslo 1994.
  • Gustav Schiefler, Max Sauerlandt and Maike Bruhns, „St. Pauli“ und „Hamburger Brücken“, Hamburg 1989.
  • Wolf Stubbe, Tiere anders gesehen. Tierzeichnungen von Rolf Nesch, Hamburg 1985.
  • Max Sauerlandt, Gustav Schiefler and Wolf Stubbe et al., Rolf Nesch: Karl Muck og hans orkester, Oslo 1977. Hamburg 1978.
  • Sidsel Helliesen and Eivind Otto Hjelle, Rolf Nesch på teaterturne til Finnmark, Oslo 1976.
  • Jan Askeland and C.H. Hudtwalcker, Rolf Nesch – Lofoten, Oslo 1976.
  • Alfred Hentzen and Wolf Stubbe, Rolf Nesch. Graphik, Berlin/Oslo 1973.
  • Jan Askeland, Rolf Nesch - Alkymisten, Oslo 1969.
  • Wolf Stubbe, Der Zyklus St.Pauli von Rolf Nesch, Jahrbuch der Hamburger Kunstsammlungen, 1965
  • Alfred Hentzen, Rolf Nesch. Graphik, Materialbilder, Plastik Stuttgart 1960, New York 1964.
  • Jan Askeland, Rolf Nesch, Oslo 1958.