This picture most likely depicts the view from the window of Kokoschka’s studio in Dresden, from which he enjoyed a splendid view of the Elbe River, its bridges, and the houses on the far shore. The three elements of the landscape—water, embankment, and sky—are suggested by bold patches of bright color, and the simple, strongly horizontal composition emphasizes the low buildings and the river’s edge. Painted between 1919, when Kokoschka moved to Dresden, and 1921, this painting is one of the earliest works by the artist to have been acquired by a U.S. museum.
Artist Oskar Kokoschka
Austrian, 1886-1980
  • The Elbe Near Dresden
Date c. 1921
Medium oil on canvas
Dimensions Unframed: 23 1/2 × 31 1/2 inches (59.7 × 80 cm)
Framed: 28 3/16 × 36 1/8 × 1 1/2 inches (71.6 × 91.8 × 3.8 cm)
Credit Line City of Detroit Purchase
Accession Number 21.203
Department European Modern Art to 1950
On View Modern N230, Level 2 (see map)
Signed Lower left: O K
Richardson, E. P., 20TH CENTURY PAINTING 1936-1943 (DIA Guide).

Museum of Modern Art, New York, GERMAN PAINTING AND SCULPTURE, Mar, 1931, no 52.

Hoffman, E., KOKOSCHKA-LIFE AND WORK, London: 1947, no 125 (as Dresden I)

Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA., Museum of Modern Art, New York, Phillips Memorial Gallery, Washington, D. C., City Art Museum, St. Louis, MO, H. M. de Young Museum, San Francisco, RETROSPECTIVE EXHIBITION OF OSKAR KOKOSCHKA, no 26 (ill).

Haus der Kunst, Munich, Municipal Museum, The Hague, Vienna, OSKAR KOKOSCHKA, 1958, no 48.

Galerie Welz, Salzburg, OSKAR KOKOSCHKA, THE WORK OF THE PAINTER, 1958, p 309, no 135.

Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, OH., GERMAN EXPRESSIONISM, Feb 10-Mar 9, 1961, no 43.

Bultman, B., OSKAR KOKOSCHKA, London: H. N. Abrams, 1961, p 70-71 (ill) (as "Dresden, New own II" and dates it 1921).

The Arts Council of Great Britain, Tate Gallery, London, KOKOSCHKA, Sept 14-Nov 11, 1962, no 58, pl 19.

Minneapolis Institute of Arts, IN., DISPLACED PAINTINGS, REFUGEES FROM NAZI GERMANY, April 9-May 9, 1948.

Marlborough-Gerson Gallery, New York, KOKOSCHKA, Oct-Nov, 1966, p 41, no 21 (ill).

Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany, ERWERBUNGSBERICHTE, 1966, vol 2, p 172, no 11.

Museo de Jade, San Jose, Costa Rica, CINCO SIGLOS DE OBRAS MAESTRAS, May 6-June 30, 1978, pp 24 and 51 (ill).

Uhr, H., MASTERPIECES OF GERMAN EXPRESSIONISM AT THE DETROIT INSTITUTE OF ARTS, NY: Hudson Hills Press in association with the DIA, 1982, p 122 (ill).