Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980) – one of the Austrian greatest painters, sculptors and graphic artists of the 20th century
Signed ‘OKokoschka’, dated ‘Sommer 1955’ and inscribed ‘Belohnung – für den Bienenfleiß des Willy’ lower left
Dimensions: 27.4 x 20.9 cm.
Very good condition
Provenance: Private Collection, Southern Germany
Exquisite, complete character study that illustrates both Kokoschka’s skill as a sculptor and draftsman; collectors pay over €300.000 for figure drawings by the artist on the international art market
This chalk drawing by Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980) is a late work by the artist and was created in 1955. It shows a study of a man drawn in fine colored lines. The figure is given shape in the artist’s typical expressive manner. The present work demonstrates Kokoschka’s virtuosity both as a sculptor and draftsman. The sitter appears like a sculpture, whose body is rendered with an incredible spatial understanding.
Furthermore the nude, his limbs seemingly bound together, is reminiscent of Prometheus, a mythological figure which fascinated the artist. In his oeuvre Kokoschka continuously took up the theme of antiquity. Already in early works, he adopted imagery from Mycenaean art. His late work is defined by Greek and mythological subject matter. In the 1950s, he visited the most important places of antiquity and compiled a small collection of antiquities, which he used as objects of study.
The drawing of very good condition. It is mounted on light cardboard (by the artist?). The work is signed ‘OKokoschka’, dated ‘Sommer 1955’ and inscribed ‘Belohnung – für den Bienenfleiß des Willy’ lower left. The frame shows some wear. The framed work measures 44 x 37.5 cm, the sheet measures 27.4 x 20.9 cm.
Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980)
Kokoschka was born in Pöchlarn but grew up in Vienna. Thanks to the efforts of Carl Otto Czeschka (1878-1960), Kokoschka was allowed to study at the Vienna arts school where he stayed from 1905 until 1909. He moved to Berlin in 1910 where he illustrated the expressionist magazine ‘Der Sturm’ and had a huge exhibition in Paul Cassirer’s gallery. Back in Vienna, he met Alma Mahler, yet when their tumultuous affair ended, Kokoschka voluntarily joined the military service. He got injured and spent the rest of the war as a war painter. He was named professor in Dresden in 1919 and stayed there until 1924. With the beginning of the Nazi regime, Kokoschka had to flee to Prague after he was named ‘The most degenerated amongst the degenerated’ and ‘Hitler’s artistic enemy No. 1’. The ‘Oskar Kokoschka Bund’ was founded in Prague with the aim of contradicting the ‘artistic’ machinations of the National Socialists and to support Kokoschka. In 1938, Kokoschka fled to England and became a British citizen in 1946 (he only re-accepted the Austrian citizenship in 1975). He founded the ‘Schule des Sehens’, an international fine arts summer academy in Salzburg and moved to Switzerland in 1953. Kokoschka participated in the documenta I, II and III and received many honours and awards. Regular exhibitions are held in his birthplace in Pöchlarn. Today, paintings by Kokoschka are represented in the most important museums for modern art in Austria and Germany, but also in the National Gallery of Scotland and the National Gallery in Prague as well as in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
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