Oskar Kokoschka

Zrání (High Summer)

About this artwork

When Kokoschka left Czechoslovakia for London in 1938, he was only able to bring £5 in cash, a small suitcase and one painting, called 'Girls Bathing.' 'Zrání' is the same picture, although it underwent a complete reworking in 1940. The landscape combines elements from the Cornish coast, where the artist lived for nearly a year from 1939, with memories of his homeland. The painting offers an idyllic vision of leisure and contentment, in stark contrast to the turmoil in central Europe at that time. The Czech title has no exact translation, but approximates to 'maturity', 'ripening' and 'summer'.

see media
  • title:
    Zrání (High Summer)
  • accession number:
    GMA 21
  • artist:
  • gallery:
  • object type:
  • subject:
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • date created:
    1938 - 1940
  • measurements:
    68.30 x 89.20 cm (framed: 94.00 x 114.60 x 9.50 cm)
  • credit line:
    Presented by the Czechoslovak Government in Exile 1942
  • copyright:
    © Fondation Oskar Kokoschka/ DACS 2018.
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve

Oskar Kokoschka

Oskar Kokoschka

Kokoschka studied at the School of Arts and Crafts in Vienna from 1905 to 1909, where he also worked for the Wiener Werkstätte (Viennese Workshops). Although his early work was part of the 'art nouveau' movement in Vienna, he soon developed into Austria's leading expressionist painter, specialising in disturbing psychological portraits. After being invalided out of the army during the First World War, Kokoschka was based mainly in Dresden until 1923. He travelled until 1930, and from 1931 to 1934 returned to live in his native Vienna. In 1934 he moved to Prague, where he took out Czech citizenship. After the Munich Agreement of September 1938, he was forced to flee to London with his future wife, Olda Palkovska. He became a British citizen in 1947, and lived mainly in Switzerland after 1953.