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Hades and Persephone
© Foundation Oskar Kokoschka/DACS 2021. Photo credit: The Courtauld

Hades and Persephone 1950

Oskar Kokoschka (1886–1980)

The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust)

(b Pöchlarn, 1 Mar 1886; d Montreux, Switzerland, 22 Feb. 1980). Austrian Expressionist painter, printmaker, and writer (he became a Czech citizen in 1937 and a British citizen in 1947 but reverted to Austrian nationality in 1975). His formative years were spent in Vienna, where in 1909 he began to make an impact with his ‘psychological portraits’, in which the soul of the sitter was thought to be laid bare. A good example is his portrait of the architect Adolf Loos (1909, Staatliche Museen, Berlin), showing the sensitive, quivering line through which Kokoschka captured what he called the ‘closed personalities, so full of tension’ of his sitters. Later his brushwork became much broader and more broken, with high-keyed flickering colours.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)


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