Ernst Wilhelm Nay

1902, Berlin1968, Cologne

"I live the adventure of the white canvas." (EWN, 1953)

Ernst Wilhelm Nay was a master of colour and its movement on canvas. Starting from a representational early work influenced by Expressionism, he developed abstract groups of works after the Second World War that dealt with the effect of colour and form on canvas: This includes groups of works such as "Hekate Bilder" (1945-1948), "Fugale Bilder" (1949-1951), "Rhythmische Bilder" (1952-53), "Scheibenbilder" (1954-62) and "Augenbilder" (1963-64). His "Späte Bilder" (1965-68), painted in clear colours and outlines, complete the circle to the beginning of his career with their reminiscences of representationalism. He also dealt scientifically with the subject of colour. In 1955 he published "Vom Gestaltwert der Farbe", which met with a great response in the art world. He understood his works as "flat art," without foreground or background, with the aim of making the colour surfaces oscillate: positive colours strive forwards, negative colours recede. Nay's equally virtuoso works on paper can be understood as his "diaries", which allow exciting conclusions to be drawn about his working methods and development and document his high artistic standards.

Selected Artworks
Selected Exhibitions