Portrait of Franz Hauer
Oskar Kokoschka, Austrian, Portrait of Franz Hauer, ca. 1914, Oil on canvas; 120.7 x 106.1 cm (47 1/2 x 41 3/4 inches), Georgianna Sayles Aldrich Fund and Museum Works of Art Fund 53.121
Franz Hauer, the manager of a popular tavern, was a generous and sympathetic collector of the work of avant-garde artists in Vienna. He offered early support to Kokoschka, who later portrayed his patron in an advanced stage of tuberculosis. Kokoschka considered this one of his “black portraits,” documenting the deep anxiety that gripped Austrian society at the approach of the First World War. Expressive brushstrokes render the depth of Hauer’s gaze and exaggerate his gaunt face, bony hands, and the loose fit of clothing over his emaciated frame. In contrast to his physical vulnerability, his spiritual strength is conveyed by the broad paint-handling that animates the portrait’s surface.