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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
F.1967.4.P
© 2014 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.

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