About this artwork

Following the Nazis’ rise to power and his denunciation by them as a 'degenerate artist', Oskar Kokoschka fled to London in September 1938. Although already a famous artist, he was virtually penniless. Late in 1938, Kokoschka met Michael Croft, the son of a Conservative MP. He commissioned portraits of himself and his sister, Posy (1918-2015), who was then just twenty. She sat for Kokoschka at least six times for the portrait. She recalled: ‘The experience of meeting and being painted by Kokoschka was unforgettable. It was important for him to get to know the beliefs and feelings, likes and dislikes of the person he was painting.’ The flowers pinned to her breast were Kokoschka’s invention, as was the décolleté blue dress. Her parents were deeply conservative, and she knew that they would not approve of the painting, so she kept it hidden from them.

Updated before 2020

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Oskar Kokoschka

Oskar Kokoschka