The encounter with the great expressionist Emil Nolde (1867-1956) at the Galerie Commeter in Hamburg in 1952 was for Herbert Beck (1920-2010) the inspiring event of his artistic career. "Achieving the brilliance of Nolde’s colours was the goal of countless studies," Beck later wrote. The juxtaposition of two watercolour masters in the exhibition Emil Nolde-Herbert Beck. The Power of Colour, illustrates Nolde’s unsurpassed skill, but also Beck’s continuation of this expressive painting in new areas of drawing and content.
Nolde never had any pupils; his art is unique, as is his style and painting technique. As an avant-garde and revolutionary painter, he left his mark on the history of art in the early 20th century and can now be found in all the world’s most important museums. At the age of 32, after meeting Nolde, the young Beck began to explore the colour and painting secrets of the Expressionist master and developed a personal technique that allowed him to work even more expressively. Over the course of decades, he perfected his painting technique, working wet-on-wet on thick handmade paper so that he could apply watercolour densely. This creates an intense, luminous colouring in his works that is typical of the artist. Emil Nolde and Herbert Beck capture the public’s attention through the radiant colouring of their works, from which emanates an entirely personal inner radiance.