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Ernst Wilhelm Nay

German, 1902–1968

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Ernst Wilhelm Nay

German, 1902–1968

952
Followers
Biography

Ernst Wilhelm Nay deftly adapted his Expressionist style to the climate of post-war abstraction, maintaining subtle and individual use of color while expressing energy with quick brushstrokes. White Spring (1963), part of his purely abstract series of oil paintings composed mainly of loose circles (“Disks” 1955-63), exemplifies his capacity for deep conceptual and expressive meaning. For Nay, the disks represented a fundamental, universal form, free of personal connotations. Color remained central to Nay’s paintings, gouaches, and drawings, as he simplified forms and cooled his palette—sometimes applying daring color combinations—to create spaceless compositions of planes in late works such as Sinus (1966). Unlike many of his peers, Nay eschewed the influence of second-generation Abstract Expressionism and the newly emerging threads of Op, Pop, and Minimalist art.

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Career Highlights
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Blue chip status
Blue chip representation
Represented by internationally reputable galleries.
User
Solo show at a major institution
Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 4 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale National Pavilion, and 2 more
Biography

Ernst Wilhelm Nay deftly adapted his Expressionist style to the climate of post-war abstraction, maintaining subtle and individual use of color while expressing energy with quick brushstrokes. White Spring (1963), part of his purely abstract series of oil paintings composed mainly of loose circles (“Disks” 1955-63), exemplifies his capacity for deep conceptual and expressive meaning. For Nay, the disks represented a fundamental, universal form, free of personal connotations. Color remained central to Nay’s paintings, gouaches, and drawings, as he simplified forms and cooled his palette—sometimes applying daring color combinations—to create spaceless compositions of planes in late works such as Sinus (1966). Unlike many of his peers, Nay eschewed the influence of second-generation Abstract Expressionism and the newly emerging threads of Op, Pop, and Minimalist art.

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Blue chip status
Blue chip representation
Represented by internationally reputable galleries.
User
Solo show at a major institution
Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 4 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale National Pavilion, and 2 more