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Annexation – Alice in Wonderland

Leopold Museum,
Vienna © Fondation Oskar Kokoschka/Bildrecht,
Vienna 2022
Oil on canvas
63.5×76.4 cm


  • Oskar Kokoschka

    (Pöchlarn 1886–1980 Montreux)

Currently on display at UG2
In 1938, Oskar Kokoschka (1886–1980) emigrated to England, where he stayed until the end of World War II. During this time, the artist was highly politically active and created not only boldly designed graphic works, intended as humanitarian appeals, but also a series of allegorical paintings, such as the 1942 painting Annexation – Alice in Wonderland. Referencing the three monkeys, who refuse to hear, speak or see, the artist depicted England’s foreign minister Neville Chamberlain (1869–1940) with a helmet and moustache, as well as a soldier from the Third Reich and a bishop. As personifications of the three major powers – England, Nazi Germany and France – as well as the three classes – civil society, military and the clergy – the three men symbolize the key elements responsible for Europe’s demise. To the right behind the barbed wire we see the naked Alice, named after the protagonist in Lewis Carroll’s (1832–1898) novel Alice in Wonderland. Embodying both “truth” and “Austria”, Alice averts her gaze, with Vienna burning behind her. The work represents Kokoschka’s criticism of the approach of appeasement adopted by the Allied Forces towards Adolf Hitler’s invasion policy, and visualizes the artist’s desperate cry of protest.

A closer look

The artwork explained by
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Object data

  • Oskar Kokoschka
Annexation – Alice in Wonderland
Art movement
Oil on canvas
63.5×76.4 cm
Signed lower right: OK
Credit line of the permanent loan
Wiener Städtische Versicherung AG - Vienna Insurance Group
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).
  • Fondation Oskar Kokoschka, Werkkatalog der Gemälde von Oskar Kokoschka,
Catalogue raisonne
  • 1942/2

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Provenance research
Leopold Museum i

Oskar Kokoschka, London / Villeneuve am Genfer See (bis 1980);
Olga Kokoschka, Montreux (1980-1985); (1)
Wiener Städtische Versicherung AG (Vienna Insurance Group), Wien (ab 1985)

  1. Fondation Oskar Kokoschka, Online-Werkkatalog, 1942/2 „Anschluss“ - Alice in Wunderland (30.11.2021)

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