Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980) is one of the most impressive artistic personalities of the modern era. The Oskar Kokoschka Centre is one of the central research institutions dedicated to his life and work and features significant items from his estate, including Kokoschka's library and his extensive collection of photographs and clippings. The Centre delivers important cultural education through publications, exhibitions, and conferences.
From 1904 to 1909, Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980) studied at the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts known today as the University of Applied Arts Vienna, and was one of its most prominent students. With his unconventional teaching methods he worked as an assistant for General Life Drawing from 1912-13, and even applied to be the rector in 1933.
Later, the artist had little to do with his former art school. Yet the ties between Kokoschka and the institution where he had studied remained strong. Subsequently, following the artist's death in 1980, the forecourt of the university (formerly Kopal Square) was renamed Oskar Kokoschka Square. One year later, the Oskar Kokoschka Prize was initiated and awarded for the first time. On the 100th anniversary of Kokoschka's birth, March 1, 1986, a bronze monument created by Alfred Hrdlicka was unveiled at the university at an opening of an exhibition of Kokoschka's cityscapes, accompanied by a symposium presenting the latest research on OK - the abbreviated monogram by which he is often referred to.
The Oskar Kokoschka Centre at the University of Applied Arts Vienna owes its establishment in 1996 to the generosity of Dr. Olda Kokoschka (1915-2004), the artist's widow. Her bequest included the artist's entire library, periodical, and photographic estate, along with exhibition documentation, newspaper articles, audio-visual media, posters, and several personal mementos, among them Kokoschka's death mask.
The University Art Collection and Archives acquired a diverse repository of materials on Oskar Kokoschka from Reinhold Graf Bethusy-Huc (1930-1998) in the 1980s and 1990s, and prior. Bethusy-Huc, a passionate admirer and dedicated collector of OK, had assembled a research library, autographs, historical archival materials on the reception of his work, memorabilia, as well as copious photographs of the artist's life and work.
The Oskar Kokoschka Centre received a substantial boost in 1998 with the permanent loan of extensive holdings from the Oskar Kokoschka Dokumentation Pöchlarn. Founded in 1973 in OK's hometown, the institution has prints, archival materials, photographs and a library. The Kokoschka House – the artist's birthplace, which has been converted into an exhibition centre – has been curating annual special exhibitions as of 1999, with a shifting focus highlighting the many facets of Kokoschka and his circle.
The Oskar Kokoschka Centre positions itself as a multifaceted research centre. It provides resources for researchers and external projects as well as continuous on-site research on Kokoschka, publishing and communicating through lectures, teaching, exhibitions, and conferences.
RECENT Organisation and staging conference / publication:
Régine Bonnefoit, Bernadette Reinhold (Hg.), OSKAR KOKOSCHKA. Neue Einblicke und Perspektiven / New Insights and Perspectives, Edition Angewandte De Gruyter: Basel/Boston 2021, ISSN 1866-248X , ISBN 978-3-11-072420-2
In addition to its own annual exhibitions in the Kokoschka House in Pöchlarn, the Oskar Kokoschka Centre also acts as a lender to renowned Austrian and international museums in Zurich, Paris, London, New York and elsewhere. The spectrum ranges from various references to Kokoschka to large retrospectives, recently for example
- Kokoschka – Das Ich im Brennpunkt, Leopold Museum Wien 2013
- Oskar Kokoschka. Portraits of People and Animals, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam 2013/14
- Oskar Kokoschka and the Prague Cultural Scene, Nationalgalerie Prag, Ostdeutsche Galerie Regensburg 2015
- Oskar Kokoschka. Expressionist – Migrant – Europäer, Kunsthaus Zürich, Leopold Museum Wien 2018/2019
- Coming soon: Kokoschka. Un Fauve à Vienne, Musée d’Art moderne de Paris, 2022/2023
Kokoschka exhibitions in Pöchlarn already existed in the 1960s, even before the founding of OK Dokumentation (1973). They reveal that there are also special places of encounters with the artist's work and life away from large art metropolises. A list of past exhibitions in Pöchlarn can be found here:
The Oskar Kokoschka Centre positions itself as an internationally networked research institution.
Close cooperation partners include the other main Kokoschka institutions and bequeathed estates.
- Oskar Kokoschka Foundation, Musée Jenisch, Vevey including online index of the paintings
- Zurich Central Library, Manuscript Department
- Oskar Kokoschka Documentation Pöchlarn
The Oskar Kokoschka Centre collaborates closely with the Kokoschka House Pöchlarn to curate special annual exhibitions about the artist there.
OSKAR KOKOSCHKA. From a collector's perspective
May 7 - October 26, 2021
Oskar Kokoschka Documentation Pöchlarn
Registration OK Newsletter (Oskar Kokoschka Documentation Pöchlarn)