Section II - The Dresden Years (1916–1923)

Kokoschka lived in Berlin from 1910 until the end of 1916, when he signed a contract with gallerist Paul Cassirer (b. 1871; d. 1926). While experiencing a period of profound depression due to the war, he was treated in a convalescent home in Dresden. He formed links with the artistic community there, notably the theater scene, which encouraged him to carry on with his dramatic creations. In 1919, he was offered a position as a teacher at the Academy of Fine Arts, which he held until 1923.

In Dresden, Kokoschka regularly visited the city’s museums, where he saw masterpieces by Rubens, Titian, and Raphael. He sought new forms of pictural expression, attempting to “solve the problems of space, and pictorial depth, with pure colors, to breach the mystery of the flatness of the canvas.” The works from this period are distinguished by their intense and luminous colors, applied in juxtaposition and following the forms of the subject freely.