In 1935, while exiled in Prague, Kokoschka painted Tomáš G. Masaryk’s portrait. According to the artist, the former president of the Czech Republic embodied certain shared ideals, such a strong sense of ethics and freedom based on humanist values. Years later, Kokoschka donated the proceeds of that portrait to orphans of the war in the Czech Republic. Likewise, vulnerable children were also the subject of some of his works, like the poster Help Basque Children! (1937) referring to the bombing of Gernika, a poster shown in gallery 209.
“[…] According to Comenius it is easier to teach by means of pictures […] Neither cape nor Crown, neither scepter nor sword, denote this President’s status […] I want to make a historical picture; a picture that can be shown in schools, to teach the children that patriotic tasks, as well as personal duties, are united in humanism”. Oskar Kokoschka, 1935
Portrait of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, 1935-1936
Oil on canvas
H: 37 3/4 in. x W: 50 3/4 in. (95.88 x 128.91 cm)
Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh: Patrons Art Fund, 56.46