In this first event in our new 2021 Ben Uri Research Unit lecture series, Rüdiger Görner, author of an acclaimed new biography of Austria's most celebrated Expressionist painter, Oskar Kokoschka (1886–1980), now available in an English translation, discusses the artist’s artistic and political position within the context of his years in exile in Britain. Although Kokoschka played a major role in shaping European art in the twentieth century and had an international reputation at the time of his first emigration to Prague, he was not yet well-known in Britain upon his arrival in England in 1938. This fascinating lecture throws new light upon his experiences, reception and work, including his impressions of London, his portrait commissions and his series of now celebrated paintings criticising the Allies’ unassertive response to Hitler’s policy of aggression.
About the Speaker: Rüdiger Görner is Professor of German with Comparative Literature at Queen Mary University of London. The Founding Director of the Centre for Anglo-German Cultural Relations, his books include biographies of Rainer Maria Rilke and the poet Georg Trakl. He was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his work on British-German relations and the Reimar Lüst-Prize of the Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation in recognition of lifetime achievement.
Sarah MacDougall, Director, Ben Uri Gallery and Museum will introduce the event and the Q&A session.