The modernist architect Adolf Loos is another fighter of preconceived ideas. His girlfriend is tuberculous. He placed her in Switzerland in one of the most luxurious sanatoriums, used by the European aristocracy. In January 1910 Loos makes a long stay with his girlfriend. He is accompanied by Kokoschka.
This microcosm of characters weakened by the disease and their visitors who are hardly more beautiful inspires Kokoschka who paints a series of spontaneous portraits, without preparatory drawings. The models are not clients : the young artist is uncompromising and pitiless.
Psychology dominates over the technique, and it does not matter if impastos interplay with zones of very thin layers on the canvas. The result is the angular line, giving the impression of great nervousness, which will characterize the art of Kokoschka in all his themes throughout his career. In 1937 he was classified as a degenerate artist.
On November 12 in New York, Sotheby's sells the portrait of Joseph de Montesquiou-Fezensac, oil on canvas 80 x 63 cm, lot 21 estimated $ 15M. The quiet and sad aristocrat, aged 35, had come to the sanatorium for helping his wife Victoire whose portrait Kokoschka also made. The painting for sale has just been returned to the heirs of a Jewish art dealer to whom it had been confiscated in 1934.
SOLD for $ 20.4M including premium