Oskar Kokoschka in Dresden, 1916 – 1924

Drawings and Watercolors

After recovering from severe injury in World War I, the artist accepted a professorship at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts in 1919. The works he created during his Dresden period (1916–1924), both landscapes and portraits, are characterized by intense color and block-like structures. Stylistically, this phase is related to German Expressionism, a movement that started with the foundation of the artist group Die Brücke (“The Bridge”) in Dresden in 1905. The founding members were Fritz Bleyl, Erich Heckel, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. Artistic volition, the spontaneous creative urge in connection with the inner necessity to create art, is a characteristic trait of the Expressionists. 

Especially in his drawings, Oskar Kokoschka achieved a particular immediacy that goes hand in hand with his artistic freedom. Following the injuries he suffered during World War I, he developed greater stability with regard to himself, his environment and his artistic calling. His relationships and involvement with other people played an important role in this development. 

During this period, Kokoschka created a large number of figurative watercolors and brush drawings of graphic character that represent an expressive highlight. In his Dresden pictures, his individual experiences are rendered by means of modern inventions of color and form.


Kokoschka and Dresden, Werner Schmidt (ed.), Birgit Dalbajewa and Ulrich Bischoff, exhibition catalog Staatliche Gemäldesammlung Dresden and Belvedere Vienna, 1996

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