Of modest origins and with no academic education, Nolde started his career carving wood and etching drawings for postcards. He managed to get a formal artistic education only later and joined the group Die Brücke, although he continued to paint in isolation. He took part in an expedition to the East Indies, which inspired the lithograph The Dancer. Ideologically attracted by National Socialism, he was however prohibited to continue painting when the Nazis rose to power. He restarted painting after WWII but his work became even more introspective, such as in his Self Portrait.