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At the Crossroads. Study for the series of lithographs The Bound Columbus, 1913

Leopold Museum Vienna,
© Fondation Oskar Kokoschka/Bildrecht,
Vienna 2022
Black chalk on paper
42.5×29.6 cm


  • Oskar Kokoschka

    (Pöchlarn 1886–1980 Montreux)

Unfortunately not on display at the moment
Originally intended as a sequel to his 1908 youth fairytale The Dreaming Boys, Oskar Kokoschka’s (1886–1980) series of lithographs The Bound Columbus evolved into an autonomous work. First published with the title The White Animal Killer in the magazine Die Fackel, Kokoschka offered the revised and renamed version to the Berlin publisher Fritz Gurlitt (1854–1893). Along with O Eternity, Thou Word of Thunder and The Great Wall of China, this cycle of graphic works, too, is an expression of Kokoschka’s obsession with and love for Alma Mahler (1879–1964). Created in 1913, the twelve lithographs show the artist as Christopher Columbus (1451–1506), who follows the path of his lover – bearing the traits of Mahler – towards his own demise. Kokoschka revisited the theme of the seething conflict between the sexes, which he had previously addressed in his play Murderer, the Hope of Women, and incorporated personal memories of his relationship with Mahler into the composition. The illustrations have nothing to do with the historical figure of Christopher Columbus, rather, the title is an allusion to the film The Arrival of Columbus, which Mahler and Kokoschka had watched together in the summer of 1912.

Object data

  • Oskar Kokoschka
At the Crossroads. Study for the series of lithographs The Bound Columbus
Art movement
Graphic work
Black chalk on paper
42.5×29.6 cm
Monogrammed lower right: OK
Credit line
Leopold Museum, Vienna, Inv. 4670
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).
  • Alfred Weidinger/Alice Strobl: Oskar Kokoschka. Die Zeichnungen und Aquarelle 1897–1916, Salzburg 2008.
  • 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).
Catalogue raisonne
  • Weidinger/Strobl 2008: 539

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Provenance research
Leopold Museum i

Oskar Kokoschka, Wien / Prag (bis 1938);
Berta Theresia Patočková , Prag (1938-1960);
Dr. Roman Kokoschka, Wien (1963-1979);
Auktion: 30.11.1979, Galerie Wolfgang Ketterer München, Auktion Nr. 36, Nr. 955 (Abb. S. 187)
Dr. Rudolf Leopold, Wien (1979-1994); (1)
Leopold Museum-Privatstiftung, Wien (seit 1994)

  1. Sonja Niederacher, Oskar Kokoschka. Am Scheideweg, Dossier vom 30.01.2020; Alfred Weidinger / Alice Strobl, Oskar Kokoschka. Die Zeichnungen und Aquarelle. 1897-1916, Salzburg 2008, S. 363, Nr. 539

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