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The Principle (Liberté, Egalité, Fratricide!). Page from the portfolio Die Schaffenden I, 1918, pub. 1919

Leopold Museum Vienna,
© Fondation Oskar Kokoschka/Bildrecht,
Vienna 2022
Color lithograph on paper
41.2×31.2 cm


  • Oskar Kokoschka

    (Pöchlarn 1886–1980 Montreux)

Unfortunately not on display at the moment
Oskar Kokoschka’s (1886–1980) multi-faceted political commitment is reflected not only in his painterly oeuvre but also in his boldly designed graphic works, which were intended as humanitarian appeals. As early as 1918, he created a color lithograph with the title The Principle in response to the horrors of World War I and the ensuing protests. In this work, Kokoschka shows a bust on a plinth – not from the front but in three-quarter profile. Blood is gushing from a head wound and the lips are smeared with blood. The motivation behind this depiction may be a cry a for help and a denunciation, seeing as the artist borrowed the main slogans of the French Revolution “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité” and changed the French word for “fraternity” to “fratricide”. The events of war were still omnipresent, and the violent riots that occurred in Germany after the signing of the peace treaties continued the bloodshed. The work on paper was published in 1919 in Paul Westheim’s (1886–1963) portfolio Die Schaffenden.

Object data

  • Oskar Kokoschka
The Principle (Liberté, Egalité, Fratricide!). Page from the portfolio Die Schaffenden I
1918, pub. 1919
Art movement
Graphic work
Color lithograph on paper
41.2×31.2 cm
Signed lower right: OKokoschka; designated and monogrammed in the depiction: Liberté Egalité Fratricide! OK
Credit line
Leopold Museum, Vienna, Inv. 2441
Inventory access
Contributed to the Leopold Museum-Privatstiftung in 1994
Selection of Reference works
  • Wien 1900. Aufbruch in die Moderne, hrsg. von Hans-Peter Wipplinger, Wien 2019 (Ausst.-Kat. Leopold Museum, Wien, ab 15.03.2019).
  • Oskar Kokoschka. Expressionist, Migrant, Europäer, hrsg. von Cathérine Hug/Heike Eipeldauer, Heidelberg 2018 (Ausst.-Kat. Kunsthaus Zürich, 14.12.2018–10.03.2019; Leopold Museum, Wien, 06.04.2019–08.07.2019).
  • Kokoschka. Das Ich im Brennpunkt, hrsg. von Tobias G. Natter/Franz Smola, Wien 2013 (Ausst. Kat. Leopold Museum, Wien, 04.10.2013–27.01.2014).
  • Wien 1900. Sammlung Leopold, hrsg. von Diethard Leopold/Peter Weinhäupl, Wien u.a. 2009.
  • Die nackte Wahrheit. Klimt, Schiele, Kokoschka und andere Skandale, hrsg. von Tobias G. Natter/Max Hollein, München 2005 (Ausst.-Kat. Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, 28.01.2005-24.01.2005; Leopold Museum, Wien, 31.05.2005-22.08.2005).
  • Hans Maria Wingler/Friedrich Welz: Oskar Kokoschka. Das druckgraphische Werk, Salzburg 1975.
Catalogue raisonne
  • Wingler/Welz 1975: 132

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Provenance research
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