Oskar Kokoschka Self-Portrait 1913

  • Not on view

Austrian artist Oskar Kokoschka made this self-portrait when he was 27 years old. Though World War I did not erupt until the following year, at the time he made this painting Europe was already feeling the tensions of the diplomatic clashes that would soon lead to war. The thickly painted, sickly colors, an unnaturally elongated head, and a hovering hand convey the tension and alienation Kokoschka sensed at the time.

Oil on canvas
32 1/8 x 19 1/2" (81.6 x 49.5 cm)
Object number
© 2024 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / Pro Litteris, Zurich
Painting and Sculpture

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Provenance Research Project

This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.

Rosy (1892-1926) and Ludwig (1860-1922) Fischer, Frankfurt am Main; sold by Rosy Fischer to the Städtisches Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Halle, December 1924 [2]; removed as "degenerate art" by the Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, 1937 [3]; on consignment to Karl Buchholz (1901-1992), Berlin, 1939; to Curt Valentin (1902-1954), New York, 1939; purchased by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, April 5, 1940.
[1] One of twenty-four paintings Rosy Fischer sold to the Museum für Kunst und Kunstgewerbe in Halle (contract between Rosy Fischer and the "Stadtgemeinde Halle," December 15, 1924, Archives of the City of Halle). See Andreas Hüneke, “Die lange Geschichte der Hallenser Fischer Bilder,” Expressionismus und Exil: Die Sammlung Ludwig und Rosy Fischer, Frankfurt Am Main, ed. by Georg Heuberger et al., exh. cat. Frankfurt: Jüdisches Museum, 1990, pp. 81-94. Before the painting was removed from the collection in 1937, it was included as "degenerate art" in the exhibition "Entartete Kunst" at the Städtische Galerie Nuremberg, September 7-September 21, 1935; and on display in the "Schreckenskammer / "Degenerate Art" galleries of the Städtisches Museum für Kunst und Kunstgewerbe, Halle, November 27, 1935-July 25, 1937 (see Beschlagnahmeinventar "Entartete Kunst", "Degenerate Art" Research Center, FU Berlin).
[2] EK no. 14199: Selbstbildnis.

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