From Library Journal
Expressionist painter Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980) came of age in "the banquet years" of fin-de-sicle Vienna amid a morbidly self-conscious circle of poets, architects, and intellectuals. After seeing Van Gogh's self-portraits in 1906, he propelled his own style into an emotionally lucid intensity rivaling that of the bipolar Dutchman. This catalog to an exhibition that ran in New York City and Hamburg, Germany, concentrates on Kokoschka's most important body of work, the portraits that marked his departure from the more controlled art nouveau Jugenstil and placed him at the vanguard of early modernism. Showcased are 88 deeply neurotic early canvases, which contemporary wags claimed revealed the sitter's soul within their electric outlines and scoured pigments. Readers who skip several unwieldy essays that dwell meticulously on the most recondite interpretations of Kokoschka's art will be rewarded with an essentially strong treatment of the most expressive painter between Van Gogh and Max Beckmann. Far more apposite are the essays describing Vienna's sociopolitical milieu and the short pieces of writing that background each of the individual works-themselves carefully shown in large-scale color plates. Edited by Austrian National Gallery curator Natter, this is the best title currently available on an artist who influenced many later generations of modernists and is thus recommended for all libraries.Douglas F. Smith, Oakland P.L., CA
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
This large exhibition catalog is a sumptuously rich document...Most highly recommended. -- Choice