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Walter Nobbe was born in 1941 in Malang, Indonesia. In 1950, his family moved to the Netherlands. He studied art at the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague from where he graduated in 1963 as a professor of art. He began his career combining teaching and painting, but later concentrated on painting. Nobbe’s work is represented in museums and galleries in the Netherlands, Belgium, and France, as well as in private collections.
In 1972, Nobbe started to design for dance with the Netherlands Dance Theater, for which he has designed ballets for Cliff Keuter, Jiří Kylián, and Nacho Duato. Productions he designed for Jiří Kylián included Sinfonietta, Dream Dances, Torso, and Overgrown Path. For Nacho Duato, he designed Danza, Bolero, and Arenal, among others.
Outside the Netherlands, Nobbe worked frequently with Christopher Bruce for dance companies throughout the world, including Ballet Rambert, English National Ballet (London Festival Ballet), Cullberg Ballet, Gulbenkian, and Houston Ballet.
Nobbe died in 2005 at the age of 64.