Oskar Kokoschka, The Croci - Dolomite Landscape, 1913 © Leopold Museum, Vienna, Inv. 624

Oskar Kokoschka, Tre Croci – Dolomite Landscape

On her journey with Oskar Kokoschka in August of 1913, Kokoschka’s then-lover Alma Mahler wrote in her diary: “In Tre Croci, our life revolved entirely around his work. ... The summer sun above the glaciers! This morning, I couldn’t shake off the feeling that I simply do not deserve this blessing. Kokoschka needs to work! This is what he was born for. Life as such doesn’t interest him one bit…”
The landscape depicted in this painting has an enchanted appearance. The predominantly green colouration, the rugged, dark contours and the mysterious quality of the lighting situation all support this impression. The sketches for this painting bear the subtitle After the Storm. Although Alma Mahler is not actually visible in this landscape, she is somehow present all the same. The stylistic climax of the phase during which Kokoschka painted the Dolomite Landscape was reached with the 1914 painting of The Bride of the Wind (also known as The Tempest), which can be seen today at the art museum Kunstmuseum Basel. In that painting, Alma Mahler and Oskar Kokoschka lie gently cuddled up to one another in front of a landscape which corresponds exactly to the Dolomite landscape shown in the Leopold Museum’s painting. Elisabeth Leopold, the wife of museum founder Rudolf Leopold, quite fittingly characterizes this painting—one of her favourites—as “a symphony in green”.

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