Lot 148 Frogs
Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 61 x 92 cm
Signed lower right “OK”
Verso Oskar Kokoschka’s hand: “Europa`s SUNSET 1968, Prague 23.8.68“
The painting is offered in an auction for the first time.
This seminal work of Czech and Slovak art history was finished on 23rd August 1968.
Kokoschka painted it in protest against the invasion of the Warsaw Pact troops into
Czechoslovakia and he symbolically dedicated it to Czechoslovakia, its people and the Prague Spring reform movement.
Authenticity certificate by artist’s wife Olda Kokoschka attached.
Attached expertise by the highly respected expert on the work of Oskar Kokoschka (author of his catalogue raisonné and many other publications), Director emeritus of Oskar Kokoschka Dokumentation Centre in Pochlarn, Prof. Johann Winkler. Consulted with the Head Curator of the Austrian National Gallery Belvedere in Vienna, Dr. Alfred Weidinger (internationally respected connoisseur of Kokoschka’s work, author of many of his exhibitions and catalogues) and Prof. PhDr. Jaromir Zemina. The painting is listed under no. 474 in Oskar Kokoschka’s catalogue raisonné.
In September 1967 Oskar Kokoschka filled his sketchbook with studies of fat toads, turtles and crabs, which are nowadays a part, i.a., of the collection of Fondation Oskar Kokoschka in Vevey. The frogs represented the uneducated nation. Crabs represented the brave nations of Europe (for Kokoschka they were especially the English and the Russians), who stood up to Hitler. Frogs, dully staring into the twilight, became a symbol of human stupidity and jealousy, unable to tell apart lie and truth or commonness and extraordinariness. In 1968, for the first time since the war, Olda and Oskar Kokoschka watched the Prague Spring and the first democratic steps that they hoped for. During the invasion of the Warsaw Pact troops into Czechoslovakia in August 1968 they were both very upset. The oil painting “Frogs” shows the dictatorships throughout the history and abhors Europe’s unconcern.
Exhibited due to the ignorance of indifference of both pre-revolutionary and present cultural and politic nomenclature, this painting, essential for the Czechoslovak history has never been exhibited in former Czechoslovakia, or in the Czech or Slovak republics:
- Kokoschka, London, March - April 1969 v Marlborough Fine Art Gallery, exhibited under n. 24, colour reproduction in the exhibition catalogue, p. 26
- Oskar Kokoschka, Paintings and Watercolours since 1953. B.A.T. a Kunsthaus Hamburg, February - May 1975, exhibited under n. 30, colour reproduction in the exhibition catalogue, p. 29
- Oskar Kokoschka,Oleos y acuarelas dibujos,grabados,mosaicos.Obra literaria. Fundacion Juan March, Madrid 22 May – 5 July 1975, exhibited under n. 32, colour reproduction under n. 28
- Oskar Kokoschka zum 85.Geburstag, Osterreichische Galerie, Vienna, 27 April – 16 June 1981, exhibited under n. 97
- Oskar Kokoschka 1886-1980, Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts, Vienna, 19 March -13 April 1982, exhibited under n. 120
- Oskar Kokoschka: The Late Work 1953 - 1980, Marlborough Fine Art, London, 8 June – 21 July 1990, exhibited under n. 19
- Oskar Kokoschka, Kunstforum Landerbank Vienna, 14 March – 23 June 1991, Klaus Schroder und Johann Winkler (ed.), exhibited under n. 85
- Oskar Kokoschka.Emigrant Life - Prague and London 1934-1953, Kunsthalle Bielefeld, 20 November 1994 – 19 February 1995, Jutta Hulsewig-Johnen (ed.),exhibited under n. 74, colour reproduction in the exhibition catalogue, p. 175
- Die Thermopylen. Oskar Kokoschka - a great European. Albertina Museum, Vienna, 22 July – 26 September 1998, Alfred Weidinger (ed.), exhibited under n. 192, colour reproduction in the exhibition catalogue, p. 106
- Oskar Kokoschka, Exile and new Homeland 1934-1980, Albertina Museum, Vienna, 11 April – 13 July 2008, exhibited under n. 136, colour reproduction in the exhibition catalogue, p. 43
– Sissy Geiger-Gierke: Aristophanes, Kokoschka und Die Frosche, In Festschrift b y Otto R. v. Lutterotti . 14. ledna 1974. Verena Grabmayr a Heinz Mackowitz (ed.), Innsbruck 1973, 137–142, strana 141
– Joseph P. Hodin: Kokoschka und Hellas. Euro Art/Europa – Verlag, Vienna, 1975, strana 66, barevně ilustrováno na straně 81
– Smaranda Rosu: Kokoschka. Bucharest: Ed.Meridiane 1976, (Universal Art Masters), barevně reprodukováno na straně 55
– Klaus Albrecht Schroder und Johann Winkler: Oskar Kokoschka, Munchen Prestel 1991, barevně reprodukováno pod č. 85
– Heinz Spielmann: Kokoschka in Prague: In Peter Becher a Peter Heumos (ed.) Drehscheibe Pra g. German emigration in Czechoslovakia 1933–1939. Munich: R. Oldenburg 1992 (publication of the Collegium Carolinum), strana 94
– Heinz Spielmann: Leben aus der Freiheit. Oskar Kokoschkas Verstandnis der Antike. (uvedeno ve výstavním katalogu). Halle, Stiftung Moritzburg – Kunstmuseum des Landes Sachsen – Anhalt, 28. března–20. června 2010.
– Oskar Kokoschkas Antiquity. A European vision of Modernity , Katja Schneider and Stephan Lehmann (ed.), strana 21, barevně reprodukováno pod číslem 17.
*Reduced buyer’s commission for this lot: 4% including VAT.
Due to the foreign ownership of the painting, it is not subject to the jurisdiction of the Czech Republic and its law no. 20/1987 and is therefore export free.
This is the last item in the auction.