Former Laureates

Oskar Kokoschka

Oskar Kokoschka


In 1960 the Erasmus Prize was devoted to Painting and awarded to Marc Chagall and Oskar Kokoschka.

For half a century Kokoschka devoted himself to the renewal of painting by means of his figurative expressionist style. He rejected the harmonious ideals of Italian Classicism in favour of an expressionism inspired by the Gothic, in which fantasy and reality merge. He was a great colourist. Oskar Kokoschka was one of those artists with the gift of depicting the innermost being of objects and people which he did persuasively and with great delicacy. His allegiance to the spirit of liberty, which he also expressed in his writings, has been an inspiring example to later artists. Oskar Kokoschka was born in Austria in 1886, but became a British citizen in 1947. He studied under Gustav Klimt at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Vienna. In 1910-11 he contributed to the periodical Der Sturm and in 1912 he took part in the second exhibition of the ‘Blaue Reiter’. After the First World War, in which he was seriously wounded, he taught at the Academy in Dresden. A period of much travel followed. In 1938 he fled to London where he painted many anti-fascist works. From 1954 to 1962 he organized the summer academy ‘Schule des Sehens’ at Salzburg. Oskar Kokoschka died in Switzerland in 1980.

Oskar Kokoschka used his Erasmus Prize to produce a book about his friend Adolf Loos. Entitled Der Architekt Adolf Loos, it was published in 1964. It presented a new survey of the work of this Austrian architect who in the first quarter of the last century worked primarily in Vienna, where he designed and constructed innovative buildings.

Hommage to Apollinaire

'Hommage to Apollinaire' by the French artist Marc Chagall, Erasmus Prize winner in 1960.

The Power of Music

'The Power of Music' by the Czech artist Oskar Kokoschka, Erasmus Prize winner in 1960.