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Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980)

Hermann Schwarzwald II

Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980)
Hermann Schwarzwald II
signed with initials and dated '1916 OK' (lower left); titled and dated 'SCHWARZWALD AETATIS ANNO QUADRAG.SEXTO.XVI.APR.1916.' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
31¼ x 24¾ in. (79.1 x 63 cm.)
Painted in 1916
Galerie Georg Caspari, Munich, by 1916.
Henri and Adele Falk, Mannheim, by 1917.
Galerie Paul Cassirer, Berlin, by whom acquired on 11 April 1918.
Herbert de Garvens-Garvensburg, Hanover, by whom acquired on 1 October 1918.
With Galerie Flechtheim, Berlin.
Hermann Lange, Krefeld, by 1926, and thence by descent.
Marlborough Fine Art, Ltd., London (no. LOS 4731).
Acquired from the above by the family of the present owner in 1969.
P. Westheim, 'Von den inneren Gesichten', in Das Kunstblatt, vol. I, Weimar, 1917, no. 1, pp. 1-6 (illustrated p. 4, titled 'Porträt des Herrn Sch.').
P. Westheim, 'Oskar Kokoschka', in Das Kunstblatt, vol. I, Weimar, 1917, no. 10, p. 319 (titled 'Porträt des Dr. S. (zweite Fassung)').
P. Westheim, Oskar Kokoschka, Berlin, 1918, p. 53 (illustrated pl. 23, titled 'Porträt des Dr. S. (zweite Fassung)', dated '1915').
P. Westheim, 'Erinnerung an eine Sammlung', in Das Kunstblatt, vol. II, Weimar, 1918, no. 8, p. 240 (titled 'Bildnis des Dr. S.').
K. Scheffler, 'Oskar Kokoschka', in Kunst und Künstler, vol. 17, Berlin, 1919, p. 127 (titled 'Dr. S.', dated '1915').
E. Steinitz, 'Neue Kunst aus Hannoverschem Privatbesitz. Zur 30. Sonderausstellung der Kestner-Gesellschaft', in Das Kunstblatt, vol. IV, Weimar, January 1920, no. 1, pp. 73-77 (illustrated p. 73).
A. Faistauer, Neue Malerei in Osterreich, Zurich, 1923, pl. 33 (illustrated, titled 'Porträt Dr. Schwarzwald (II. Fassung)', dated '1915').
F. Karpfen, Österreichische Kunst, Leipzig, 1923, p. 175 (illustrated, titled 'Porträt Dr. Schwarzwald (II. Fassung)', dated '1915').
Das Kunstblatt, vol. IV, Weimar, 1925, no. 9, p. 98 (illustrated, titled 'Porträt des Herrn Sch.').
P. Westheim, Oskar Kokoschka, Berlin, 1925, pl. 68 (illustrated, titled 'Porträt Dr. S. (II. Fassung)', dated '1915').
C. Einstein, Die Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts, Berlin, 1926, p. 443 (illustrated, titled 'Bildnis Dr. Schwarzwald').
C. Einstein, Die Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts, Berlin, 1928, p. 434 (illustrated).
H. Heilmaier, Kokoschka, Paris, 1929, pl. 9 (illustrated).
E. Waldmann, La peinture allemande contemporaine, Paris, 1930, pl. 37 (illustrated).
A. Neumeyer, 'Oskar Kokoschka', in Magazine of Art, vol. 38, Washington, D.C., November 1945, no. 7, p. 263.
R. Salvini, Guida all'arte moderna, Florence, 1949, fig. 20.
E. Hoffmann, Kokoschka: Life and Work, London, 1947, no. 107, p. 306 (titled 'Dr. Schwarzwald, with book').
H.M. Wingler, Oskar Kokoschka, The Work of the Painter, Salzburg, 1958, no. 107, p. 306 (illustrated).
K.A. Schröder & J. Winkler, eds., Oskar Kokoschka, Munich, 1991. J. Winkler & K. Erling, Oskar Kokoschka: Die Gemälde, 1906-1929, Salzburg, 1995, no. 117, p. 70 (illustrated).
Munich, Galerie Georg Caspari, Ausstellung aus eigenen Beständen, August 1916 (illustrated).
Berlin, Galerie Paul Cassirer, Oskar Kokoschka, November - December 1918, no. 20 (titled 'Bildnis Dr. S. (II. Fassung)', dated '1915').
Hanover, Kestner-Gesellchaft, Neue Kunst aus Hannoverschem Privatbesitz. Architekturen von E. Mendelsohn, January - February 1920, no. 45 (titled 'Bildnis Dr. S.', dated '1915').
Dresden, Künstlervereinigung, Sommer-Ausstellung, Summer 1921, no. 85.
Hanover, Galerie von Garvens, Oskar Kokoschka, Luise Spannring, Albert Schulze, January 1921.
Hanover, Galerie von Garvens, Oskar Kokoschka, February 1921.
(Probably) Dresden, Galerie Arnold, Oskar Kokoschka. Gemälde, Handzeichnungen, Aquarelle, Drucke, January - February 1925, no. 17 (titled 'Der Schatzmeister', dated '1911').
Berlin, Galerie Paul Cassirer, Bildnisse von Oskar Kokoschka, February 1927, no. 26 (titled 'Dr. S.').
Zurich, Kunsthaus, Ausstellung Oskar Kokoschka, June - July 1927, no. 44.
Mannheim, Städtische Kunsthalle, Oskar Kokoschka, January - March 1931, no. 28.
Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, Oskar Kokoschka, March - April 1931, no. 5.
Recklinghausen, Städtische Kunsthalle, Das Bild des Menschen in Meisterwerken europäischer Kunst, June - July 1955, no. 77 (titled 'Männliches Bildnis').
Karlsruhe, Badischer Kunstverein, Oskar Kokoschka: Das Portrait, August - November 1966, no. 28 (illustrated).
London, Marlborough Fine Art, Kokoschka, March - May 1969, no. 17 (illustrated p. 46, titled 'Hermann Schwarzwald II').
Caracas, Museo de Bellas Artes, Arte aleman en Venezuela, June - August 1979.
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VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 20% on the buyer's premium.
Sale room notice
Please note that this picture has been requested for the Kokoschka Exhibition at the Museum Boymans van Beuningen, Rotterdam in 2013.

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Giovanna Bertazzoni
Giovanna Bertazzoni

Lot Essay

'It was Adolf Loos... who first aroused interest in my paintings in certain circles of Viennese society. From time to time he persuaded one of his acquaintances, perhaps a customer for whom he was building a villa or designing an apartment, or even a complete stranger, to commission a portrait from me' (Oskar Kokoschka, My Life, London, 1974, pp. 34-35).

The early portraits that Kokoschka painted in Vienna and Berlin - between his prodigious emergence as the enfant terrible of Austrian art at the Kunstschau in 1908 and his move to Dresden in 1917 - are the artist's best-known and most highly esteemed works. Painted in Vienna in 1916, Hermann Schwarzwald II is the second of three portraits Kokoschka made of his friend and supporter, the Austrian lawyer and statesman Dr Hermann Schwarzwald, when, as the Latin inscription of the back of painting indicates, the sitter was around 46 years old. Kokoschka's first painting of Schwarzwald, now in the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart, was executed in 1911 and his last (the whereabouts of which are unknown) was made in the summer of 1924. A friend and supporter of Kokoschka throughout these years, Dr Schwarzwald was the husband of Dr Eugenie Schwarzwald to whom Kokoschka had first been introduced by the pioneering avant-garde architect Adolf Loos.

Indeed, Loos was such a champion of Kokoschka's art during his early years in Vienna, that he introduced the artist to most of his clients and even guaranteed to buy their portraits from Kokoschka should, as sometimes happened, they be unhappy with the results. Kokoschka, while championed by Klimt at the 1908 Kunstschau as the 'most outstanding talent among the younger generation', was infamous in Vienna at this time and widely regarded by much of the Viennese Establishment as an upstart or degenerate. 'Windows onto the soul' or 'mirrors of their time', Kokoschka's extraordinary, swiftly-executed, rich and revealing portraits, often overflowing with nervous energy and often disturbing psychological insight, caused a surprising degree of consternation and dismay. Most people regarded these piercing, erratic but undeniably powerful paintings as upsetting disfigurements evocative of a sick mind or of a pervasive illness and decay. At best, these paintings, now recognized as among the first and finest Expressionist portraits, were regarded as works of a anti-bourgeois ugliness, symptomatic and evocative of the fractured era to which they belonged: 'manifestations' as one critic put it, 'of a decomposing age' (Arthur Roessler, quoted in U.M. Schneede, 'More like One Than One is: Modernist Portraits', Oskar Kokoschka: Early Portraits from Vienna and Berlin 1909-1914, exh. cat., New York, 2002, p. 17). Indeed, such was the hostility that surrounded Kokoschka at this time, that in 1910 he welcomed the invitation of the pioneering gallerist and publisher Herwarth Walden to leave Vienna and move to Berlin.

As Kokoschka recalled in his autobiography, 'before leaving Vienna, I had met through Loos, Dr Eugenie Schwarzwald, whose house was a centre of intellectual and artistic life, a meeting-place for cultural and political figures from Austria and elsewhere. It was at this time that I painted my first portrait of her husband, Dr Hermann Schwarzwald. I painted him again when I came back from the war, and again in 1924. On the last of the three paintings I was asked to write his motto: 'Seulement la paix!' A senior Government official who had risen to become Finance Minister, he was in close touch with Jean Jaurès, until the latter's assassination, and with other leading politicians of France and England who were working for world peace. I thought all this was just utopianism... Eugenie Schwarzwald ran a private school for girls, based on progressive educational methods. I made repeated attempts in Vienna to earn my living at various institutions by teaching evening classes in lithography, bookbinding and printing, but as a result of the continuing Press campaign against me I was forced each time to resign. Finally, I took the position of drawing-master at Eugenie Schwarzwald's private seminary, where the authorities and the Press had no business to interfere. I have pleasant memories of that period. More than half a century later, several of the girls I taught then wrote enthusiastic letter from America, where as Jews they had emigrated, telling me of what important and significant experiences those lessons had been for them' (Oskar Kokoschka, My Life, ibid., p. 69).

Hermannn Schwarzwald II was painted in April of 1916 in Vienna, not long after Kokoschka had been wounded at the front and had returned to his native city to recuperate. Depicting his friend and patron reading and seated in a similar position to that of his 1911 portrait, Kokoschka has applied a freer, bolder and more painterly style to the rendering of his sitter, whom he nevertheless bestows with the same air of sober concentration and discipline so characteristic of the earlier portrait. Using thick, bold and confident strokes to magically forge an existential and convincingly living image of his subject from the dull inanimate plastic material of his paint, it was Kokoschka's practice at this time to pull, push, splash, daub and even scratch his paint across the surface of the canvas. Working spontaneously and intuitively from his subject, it was Kokoschka's aim to conjure a vision of his sitter that encapsulated something of their inner being. 'When I paint a portrait', he asserted, 'I am not concerned with the externals of a person - the signs of his clerical or secular eminence, or his social origins...What used to shock people in my portraits was that I tried to intuit from the face, from its play of expressions, and from gestures, the truth about a particular person, and to recreate in my own pictorial language the distillation of a living being that would survive in memory. I usually start my paintings without having done any preliminary drawing: and I find that neither routine nor technique is of any help. I depend very much on being able to capture a mental impression, the impression that remains behind when the image itself has passed. In a face I look for the flash of the eye, the tiny shift of expression which betrays an inner movement... I could never have accepted as a sitter everyone who wanted to be painted: the sitter must have something worth noticing about him. I can't paint bemedalled gentlemen, or dressmaker's dummies festooned with pearls... I try to keep my sitters moving and talking, to make them forget they are being painted. This has nothing to do with extracting intimate secrets or confessions, but rather with establishing, in motion, an essential image of the kind that remains in memory or recurs in dreams' (Oskar Kokoschka, My Life, ibid., p. 33).

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