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In addition to its large library, the Oskar Kokoschka Centre has an extensive collection of photographs, archival materials, press clippings, audio-visual media, as well as artworks including graphic works, prints, and objects, stemming from four primary sources. The majority comes from the estate of Oskar and Olda Kokoschka, supplemented by items from the university collection, and the Reinhold Bethusy-Huc collection. A significant portion of items from the Oskar Kokoschka Dokumentation Pöchlarn is on permanent loan.



Oskar Kokoschka signiert Lithographien aus dem Odysseus-Zyklus in Villeneuve, 1965.

Foto: Erich Lessing

"I can't read and have absolutely no time for it." While at same time, peeking out of his pockets were the Bhagavad Gita, the Tao Te Ching and the Koran, then you had the Greek tragedies [...] Shakespeare, Angelus Silesius, Dante, the Bible, and whatever else it might have been.1

Kokoschka was a prolific reader, forsaking school snacks in order to buy cheap paperbacks as a schoolboy. While in Vienna (prior to 1934), in London (from 1938) or in his house in Villeneuve on Lake Geneva (from 1953), he had no studio, by his own account, and instead painted in his library. This was no library of unread books, bearing numerous traces of reading, from commentary through to dedications. Despite a few gaps, OK's posthumous library maps his broad fields of interest, his passions as well as personal networks. There are also countless bookshelves stacked with literature about him and his art. And as research about him continues, the Oskar Kokoschka Centre library continues to grow.

The library contains some 6,800 books and 1,000 periodicals, the bulk of which comes from the estate of Oskar and Olda Kokoschka. This is supplemented by a wide range of specialist literature from the Bethusy Collection, the University Art Collection and the Oskar Kokoschka Documentation Pöchlarn (literature prior to 1945 on permanent loan). The library contains writings on and by Kokoschka, including several rare books with signed personal sketches and dedications, however primarily monographs, exhibition catalogues, literature on and by contemporaries, art history, cultural history and literary history books, collection and auction catalogues, reference books on antiquity and archaeology, and everything from travel guidebooks to encyclopaedias to manuals for gardening enthusiasts.

Literature: Régine Bonnefoit, Bernadette Reinhold, Die Nachlassbibliothek von Oskar Kokoschka - neue Perspektiven in der Kokoschka-Forschung, in: Régine Bonnefoit, Ruth Häusler (eds.), "Spur im Treibsand" Oskar Kokoschka neu gesehen. (The Estate Library of Oskar Kokoschka. New Perspectives in Kokoschka Research, "Traces in Quicksand" Oskar Kokoschka Seen Anew. Letters and Pictures, Petersberg 2010, pp. 35-61.

The library is accessible via the Austrian Library Network through the University of Applied Arts (supA library search portal) under the classification “Oskar Kokoschka Zentrum” (excluding the OKD Pöchlarn collection).

  1. ^ Josef Paul Hodin, Kokoschka und Hellas, Wien 1975, p. 5 after Régine Bonnefoit, Bernadette Reinhold, Die Nachlassbibliothek von Oskar Kokoschka – neue Perspektiven in der Kokoschka-Forschung, in: Régine Bonnefoit, Ruth Häusler (eds.), „Spur im Treibsand“ Oskar Kokoschka neu gesehen. Briefe und Bilder (The Estate Library of Oskar Kokoschka. New Perspectives in Kokoschka Research, "Traces in Quicksand", Oskar Kokoschka Seen Anew. Letters and Pictures), Petersberg 2010, pp. 35–61.


IN OKV/1110/FP

Oskar und Olda Kokoschka mit Konrad Adenauer und Fotograf im Garten der Sommerresdienz Adenauers in Cadenabbia, 1966.

Foto: Sven Simon

Kokoschka took few photographs himself and was critical of the medium in his later years. Nevertheless, the Oskar Kokoschka Centre has a large photo collection compiled from four sources. The heart of the collection is the photographic estate of Oskar and Olda Kokoschka comprising around 5,000 photos. A substantial number from the University Collection and Archives, the Bethusy Collection and OK Documentation Pöchlarn make up the remainder. The repertoire affords rich insights into his busy and eventful life, his numerous milestones, travels, and encounters through professional portraits and studio photographs as well as snapshots, family photos and documentation of exhibitions and artworks. Kokoschka was connected to the who's who of the art world, the academic world and the political world, and the collection is steeped in photographic history featuring photographers like Hugo Erfurt, Madame d'Ora, Brassaï, Gertrude Fehr, Trude Fleischmann, George Platt Lynes, Rene Burri, Herbert List, and Erich Lessing.

Press Clippings

IN 19.160/Q

Tribune vom 7. Mai 1943 mit Farbstiftproben Oskar Kokoschkas

Press clippings are a frequently undervalued resource when it comes to documenting and chronicling an artist's work. Kokoschka's estate has preserved a large body of press articles as well as scrapbooks created by Olda. In addition to his literary-dramatic work, Kokoschka published articles in newspapers and magazines, and collected material on specific topics such as “degenerate art”, socialism, and racism.

Archival materials


Oskar Kokoschka schreibend an seinem Schreibtisch in Villeneuve, 1960–1966.

Foto: Erich Lessing

Oskar Kokoschka studied at the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts, the predecessor to the University of Applied Arts Vienna from 1904 – 1909. Archival records concerning his studies and teaching, as well as later correspondence, are held in the University Archives. The collection of the Oskar Kokoschka Centre also include other OK correspondence, manuscripts, exhibition materials, archival research by Kokoschka scholars (e.g. Ernest Rathenau, Edith Hoffmann, Werner J. Schweiger), etc. The majority of Kokoschka's written legacy is housed in the manuscript collection of the Zurich Central Library.

Audio-visual media


Film „Erinnerung“ von Albert Quendler, Einladungskarte Welturaufführung, 1986.
Farbdruck auf Karton

The Oskar Kokoschka Centre holds a modest number of records, tapes, video/film clips, CDs and DVDs on Kokoschka, including album designs and broadcasts about the artist. The AV media is accessible in a restricted capacity.

Graphics and Prints

On permanent loan from OK Dokumentation Pöchlarn are diagrams, graphics and other printed material, and most notably a large number of Kokoschka's lithographs and prints, including Der gefesselte Kolumbus (The Bound Columbus) (1913/1916), Bekenntnis zu Hellas I und II (Homage to Hellas I and II) (1961/1964), Un Ballo in Maschera (A Masked Ball) (1965/1967), Jerusalem Faces (1973), the late etching progression Penthesilea (1969/1970), sheets from the Zwanzig Zeichnungen (Twenty Drawings) portfolio (1910/1913), and several editions of Der Sturm magazine.


IN KM 5451

Oskar Kokoschka, Rock für Lilith Lang, 1907/1908, Leinen/ Wollstoff/Seide/Glassteine.

Foto: Christin Losta

There are also some objects and memorabilia from the artist's estate to be found in the Oskar Kokoschka Centre. These include, for example, the cast of OK's death mask, and the skirt designed by Kokoschka for his fellow student Lilith Lang in 1907–1908, which is in the University's Collection Fashion and Textiles.