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PROPERTY FROM THE HIMAN BROWN IRREVOCABLE TRUST

Oskar Kokoschka
ORPHEUS UND EURYDIKE (ORPHEUS AND EURYDICE)
Estimate
600,000800,000
LOT SOLD. 1,986,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT
61

PROPERTY FROM THE HIMAN BROWN IRREVOCABLE TRUST

Oskar Kokoschka
ORPHEUS UND EURYDIKE (ORPHEUS AND EURYDICE)
Estimate
600,000800,000
LOT SOLD. 1,986,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

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New York

Oskar Kokoschka
1886 - 1980
ORPHEUS UND EURYDIKE (ORPHEUS AND EURYDICE)
Signed OK (upper left)
Oil on canvas
27 3/4 by 20 in.
70.5 by 50.8 cm
Painted in 1917.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Galerie Paul Cassirer, Berlin

Hugo Simon, Berlin (acquired on October 30, 1917)

Galerie Paul Cassirer, Berlin (acquired on February 1, 1927)

Neue Galerie (Otto Nirenstein), Vienna (acquired on March 16, 1927)

Galerie St. Etienne (Otto Kallir-Nirenstein), New York (by 1939)

Exhibited

Berlin, Galerie Paul Cassirer, Oskar Kokoschka, 1918, no. 28

Wiesbaden, Nassauischer Kunstverein, Neues Museum, 30 deutsche Künstler aus unserer Zeit, 1930, no. 69

Vienna, Neue Galerie, Oesterreichische und deutsche Gegenwartskunst, 1931

Vienna, Hagenbund, Moderne österreichische Malerei, 1931-32, no. 67

Vienna, Neue Galerie, Oskar Kokoschka, Gemälde, Aquarelle und Zeichnungen, 1932

Vienna, Neue Galerie, Meisterwerke moderner österreichischer Malerei, 1933

Prague, Galerie Hugo Feigl, Oskar Kokoschka, 1933-34, no. 5, illustrated in the catalogue

Salzburg, Kunsthandlung Friedrich Welz, Werke von Oskar Kokoschka, Hans Pilhs und Anton Steinhart, 1935

Bern, Kunsthalle, Österreichische Kunst im 20. Jahrhundert, 1937, no. 84 (titled Phliemon und Baucis)

Paris, Musée du Jeu de Paume des Tuileries, Exposition d'art autrichien, 1937, no. 533

New York, Galerie St. Etienne & Buchholz Gallery, Oskar Kokoschka, 1940, no. 7

New York, Buchholz Gallery (Curt Valentin), Kokoschka, 1941, no. 13

New York, Galerie St. Etienne, Oskar Kokoschka, 1943

New York, Galerie St. Etienne, Oskar Kokoschka, 1949

New York, The Bayer Gallery, Oskar Kokoschka, 1959, no. 9

New York, Marlborough-Gerson Gallery, Oskar Kokoschka, 1966, no. 20, illustrated in the catalogue

New York, The Gallery of Modern Art, Dealer's Choice, 1968

New York, Marlborough Gallery & London, Marlborough Fine Art, Ltd., Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980), Memorial Exhibition, 1981, no. 14, illustrated in the catalogue (as dating from 1917-18)

Vienna, Kunstforum Länderbank Wien, Oskar Kokoschka, 1991, no. 33, illustrated in color in the catalogue

New York, Galerie St. Etienne, Richard Gerstl - Oskar Kokoschka, 1992, no. 48, illustrated in the catalogue

Rome, Complesso del Vittoriano, Klimt, Kokoschka e Schiele, Dall'Art Nouveau all'Espressionismo, 2001-02

Literature

Carl Einstein, Die Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts, Berlin, 1926, illustrated p. 456 (titled Mann und Frau)

Edith Hoffmann, Kokoschka: Life and Work, London, 1947, no. 122

Hans Maria Wingler, Oskar Kokoschka, Salzburg, 1958, no. 117, illustrated pl. 48

O. Kokoschka: Orpheus und Eurydike (playbill for the first performance) Atelier-Theater am Naschmarkt, Vienna & Salzburg, 1960-61, illustrated 

Guiseppe Gatt, Oskar Kokoschka, Florence, 1972, illustrated pl. 19

Rupert Feuchtmüller, Kunst in Österreich, vol. 2, Vienna, 1973, p. 240

Henry I. Schvey, The visual element in the plays of Oskar Kokoschka (dissertation), University of Indiana, Bloomington, 1977, pp. 131-32

José Maria Blázquez, "Temas des mundo clásico en la pintura de Kokoschka y Braque," Miscelanea de arte, Madrid, 1982, p. 269

Henry I. Schvey, Oskar Kokoschka.  The Painter as Playwright, Detroit, 1982, pp. 109-110, illustrated pl. 48

Ingried Brugger, "'Wesen mit Wesen streitend'" Die Dresdner Werkgruppe 1916-1923" Oskar Kokoschka, 1991, p. 24

Johann Winkler & Katharina Erling, Oskar Kokoschka, Die Gemälde, 1906-1929, Salzburg, 1995, no. 127, illustrated in color p. 76

Catalogue Note

Among the German Expressionist artists, Kokoschka was the master of searing emotion and psychological intensity.  The present work relates to the Greek myth of Orpheus, the demi-god musician, who tried in vain to win back his lover Eurydice from the depths of Hades.  This story had particular resonance for the artist, still deeply obsessed and mourning the end of his love affair with Alma Mahler.  At the end of the war while he was convalescing from battlefront injuries, Kokoschka began writing a theatrical adaptation of the Orpheus myth that was autobiographically-inspired: "My play 'Orpheus and Eurydice' grew out of the repeated hallucinations I experienced in Camp at Vladimir Volhynskiy.  I wrote it down from memory afterwards... At this time (in Dresden) I was writing a play 'Orpheus' which I had thought out in the Russian military hospital in memory of the woman, to whom I used to send mimosa ever day, when she was in Nice... as for what she whispered to me then and what I asked her -- let Orpheus and Eurydice up there on the stage reveal it to everyone.  Word for word I committed it to paper from memory, in those days in Dresden" (O. Kokoschka, quoted in Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980), Memorial Exhibition (exhibition catalogue), op. cit.).

Kokoschka's work on the present picture began in 1917 in Dresden while he was writing that text, and the expressive stylization here perfectly captures the melodrama of his topic.  The artist's frenetic application of paint and use of rich impasto call to mind his portrayal of himself and Mahler in The Tempest from 1914.   While the identity of the male model is unknown, the model for Eurydice is most likely Käthe Richter, who also posed for Lovers with a Cat, now in the collection of the Kunsthaus, Zürich. 

 

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

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