Oskar Kokoschka

Austria, b.1886, d.1980

Houses of Parliament II

This lithograph looks up London’s River Thames to the British Houses of Parliament. Oskar Kokoschka had lived in the city between 1938 and 1953 and the Thames was a favourite subject. On a return visit in 1967 Kokoschka made many sketches from a boat and the set of lithographs he subsequently made capture that sense of immediacy. Lithography was a medium ideally suited to Kokoschka’s rapid, spontaneous style. His works were individualistic, but show the influence of the expressionist painters of the German Die Brücke group. Born at Pöchlarn, in 1905 Kokoschka began studying at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Vienna. He held his first solo exhibition in Berlin in 1910. Kokoschka taught at the Dresden Academy between 1919 and 1924, then travelled extensively in Europe and North Africa. He settled in Vienna in 1931 but moved to Prague in 1935 because of Nazism. In 1937 Kokoschka’s art was labelled ‘degenerate’ by the Nazi party and banned from public viewing. Kokoschka moved to England in 1938 and in 1953 settled in Switzerland.