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Portrait of Frau Reuther

Portrait of Frau Reuther, c. 1921

Oskar Kokoschka
Austrian, 1886-1980
Oil on canvas
37-1/2 x 26-1/8 in. (95.3 x 66.4 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
© 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 associated with the German Expressionists, yet he adamantly refused to partake in any of the well-known groups that defined the movement. Working outside of such formal organizations as Die Brücke and Der Blaue Reiter, the Austrian painter nevertheless held similar tenets, producing powerfully expressive pictures with vigorous paint handling that conveys the inner sensibilities of both artist and sitter. This portrait depicts the mother-in-law of a close friend, photographer Hugo Erfurth. With evident blindness in her left eye and a partially hidden right hand, possibly suggesting the claw-like rigidity of arthritis, the elderly woman sits proudly, with the hint of a smile on her face. By employing a palette knife rather than a paintbrush, Kokoschka built up his composition in a thick array of greens, blues, and violets that add physical and psychological depth to this sympathetic portrait.

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