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Dialogue between Penthesilea and Achilles. Illustration on Penthesilea. A Tragedy, 1970

Leopold Museum Vienna,
© Fondation Oskar Kokoschka/Bildrecht,
Vienna 2022
Drypoint on paper
48.8×36.4 cm


  • Oskar Kokoschka

    (Pöchlarn 1886–1980 Montreux)

  • Edition de Beauclair
Unfortunately not on display at the moment
After Oskar Kokoschka (1886–1980) had created various cycles of graphic works already in his early oeuvre, he revisited this medium after the end of World War II. The artist now focused on classical subjects, illustrating, for example, Heinrich von Kleist’s (1777–1811) dramatic love story Penthesilea (1808). In it, Kleist outlined the conflict between the Amazon queen Penthesilea and the prevailing social order. Unlike in the version from Antiquity, Kleist’s Penthesilea murders her lover Achilles together with her dogs in a fit of rage. The atrocity leads to the denunciation of the ancient law of the Amazons and to Penthesilea’s suicide. Kokoschka illustrated the drama in a total of ten drypoint etchings, which depict the key scenes and reinforce the narrative’s violence.

Object data

  • Design: Oskar Kokoschka
  • Publisher: Edition de Beauclair
Dialogue between Penthesilea and Achilles. Illustration on Penthesilea. A Tragedy
Art movement
Art after 1945
Graphic work
Drypoint on paper
48.8×36.4 cm
Numbered and signed: 43/100 OKokoschka
Credit line
Leopold Museum, Vienna, Inv. 6562 07
Inventory access
Accession 2020 2021
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).
  • 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: 459

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Provenance research
Leopold Museum i

Antiquariat Carl Wegner, Berlin (o.D.);
Leopold Museum-Privatstiftung, Wien (seit 2021). (1)

  1. Archiv des Leopold Museums, Rechnung Nr. 47807 vom 04.03.2021

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