133 Place, Nation, and Politics in Oskar Kokoschka’s Art, Writings, and Career, 1934-1953

Wednesday, June 26, 2013: 11:00 AM-12:45 PM
2.03 (Binnengasthuis)
Place, Nation, and Politics in Oskar Kokoschka’s Art, Writings, and Career, 1934-1953

            Between his 1934 departure from Vienna to Prague until his founding of the School of Seeing in Salzburg in 1953, the career, interests, and art of Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980) underwent major transformations. Drawing upon the marked expansion of the documentary record during the past decade, and recent critical scholarship, papers examine aspects of the artist Kokoschka came to be in Czechoslovakia, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland. Papers deploy a range of methodologies to examine key works of art to better interpret them in light of the issues that concerned Kokoschka during these tumultuous decades of territorial displacement and resettlement in his own life and career as well as that of Europe and its populations.

            Subjected to the crises, forced relocations, and territorial reconfigurations unleashed by German National Socialism and Austro-fascism, Kokoschka’s new art of these years attended closely to persons and places, often recasting the human figure in varied, but distinct ways within landscapes and cityscapes. His many essays and letters to friends, collectors, dealers, gallerists, museum professionals, fellow artists, art historians, and family, often addressed timely issues of national and pan-European political reform, refugee policies, as well as cultural and educational policy. Each paper accents how Kokoschka’s artworks engage the world and specific nations beyond their frames, and also how the artist managed his artworks and career at a time when inside Nazi Germany his once celebrated art was pilloried and stripped from museum walls and collections.

            [NOTE: The timeliness of convening this panel in the Netherlands in June 2013 is enhanced by the exhibition Kokoschka as Portraitist opening Fall 2013 at the Boijmans van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam. Concurrently, Vienna’s Leopold Museum will realize an exhibition of Kokoschka’s portraits. In Summer 2014, the exhibition Kokoschka and the Cultural Scene in Prague will open at the Kunstforum Ostdeutsche Galerie, Regensburg.  Several participating panelists are contributing new scholarship to the books accompanying these exhibitions.]

Keith Holz
Régine Bonnefoit
„You Have Been Lost for the Home Country“: Kokoschka and Austrian Cultural Policy After 1945
Bernadette Reinhold, Universität für angewandte Kunst Wien, Kunstsammlung und Archiv
Oskar Kokoschka - Portraitist of the Powerful
Régine Bonnefoit, Université de Neuchatel
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