Oskar Kokoschka



Not on display

Oskar Kokoschka 1886–1980
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 635 × 762 mm
frame: 798 × 922 × 75 mm
Presented by Mrs Olda Kokoschka, the artist's widow, in honour of the directorship of Sir Alan Bowness 1988

Display caption

1942 was a year of deadlock during the Second World War. Whilst the Soviet Union was battling the Nazis in the East, there were repeated calls for British and American governments to launch a Second Front in Western Europe. In Marianne-Maquis, Kokoschka vents his criticism of the allies’ delay by showing British war leaders Winston Churchill and General Montgomery drinking tea in the Café de Paris in Soho. The central figure is Marianne, the traditional personification of France, now linked to the ‘Maquis’, the French Resistance.

Gallery label, November 2006

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Technique and condition

Oil painting on a commercially prepared canvas tacked to a wooden stretcher. The ground layer is of a creamy/off-white colour.

The paint film was built up from a series of thin, fluidly applied washes, the thicker more opaque applications tending to be restricted to the final stages of painting but even then the resulting impasto being of less than 1mm thickness. The painting bears no overall protective varnish.

The painting is in generally good condition with only minor disfigurement related to careless handling. Only minor, mainly preventive treatment was thought necessary at the time of acquisition. The straight moulded gilded frame was with the painting when it was lent to the Tate in 1983 but may not date from before the 1960's. The frame has been fitted with glass or acrylic glazing since 1985.

Peter Booth

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