Portrait of Frau Reuther

Oskar Kokoschka (Austrian, 1886-1980)
c. 1921
Oil on canvas 
37-1/2 x 26-1/8 in. (95.3 x 66.4 cm) 
Credit Line:
The Norton Simon Foundation 
Accession Number:
© 2017 Fondation Oskar Kokoschka / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ProLitteris, Zurich Reproduction, including downloading of ARS works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 
Not on View

Oskar Kokoschka is often heralded as the ultimate German Expressionist, yet he adamantly refused to partake in any of the well-known groups that defined the movement. Working outside of the formally organized Die Brücke and Der Blaue Reiter, the Austrian painter nevertheless held to similar tenets, producing powerfully emotional pictures with a nervous brush that probed the inner sensibilities of both artist and sitter. This portrait depicts the mother-in-law of a close friend, photographer Hugo Erfurth. With blindness in her left eye and a partially hidden left hand suggesting the claw-like rigidity of arthritis, the elderly sitter sits proudly with a partial smile. Kokoschka has wielded his palette knife with a thick application of pigment, building a sophisticated array of greens, blues and violets in this sympathetic portrait.


Hugo Erfurth (1874-1948), Dresden, who probably commissioned the work, and still had it in 1927.
[Rudolf Probst (still alive in 1952), Dresden, later Mannheim].
Private Collection, Minneapolis, in 1956 (probably David Daniels, see below);
David Daniels, New York (1927-2002), by 1956-still in 1962.
[Jane Wade, Ltd., New York, sold 1967 to];
The Norton Simon Foundation.

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