Austria 1886 – Switzerland 1980
[Selstbildnis, Hand auf der Brust] 1912
Materials & Technique:
prints, posters, planographic colour lithograph Impression: ed: unknown
Oskar Kokoschka is one of the great artists of the 20th century. Unlike many of his ‘expressionist’ colleagues, who had fierce but brief careers, Kokoschka produced works of significance over a period of more than half a century.
Vortrag [Lecture] recapitulates an image Kokoschka had used in 1910 to advertise the avant-garde review Der Sturm. Here the poster announces a lecture to be given by him at the Academic Association for Literature and Music in Berlin on 26 January 1912. Essentially the poster shows a shaven-headed Kokoschka as the crucified Christ, inserting his own fingers into the wound in his chest. There is also a reference to Kokoschka’s play Mörder, Hoffnung der Frauen, first performed at the Vienna Kunstschau in 1909, in which the male protagonist is stabbed in the side by the main female character. This image gives us then some insight into his psychologically tortured state of mind at the time. The result is one of the most powerful posters of the first half of the 20th century.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra