Object Image

Hans Tietze and Erica Tietze-Conrat

In 1909 the Viennese art historians Hans and Erica Tietze asked the twenty-three year-old Kokoschka to paint a marriage portrait for their mantelpiece. Mrs. Tietze recalled that she and her husband were painted individually, a fact suggested by their separate poses and gazes. Kokoschka used thin layers of color to create the hazy atmosphere surrounding the couple, and added a sense of crackling energy by scratching the paint with his fingernails. The Museum bought this painting from the Tietzes in 1939, just one year after the couple immigrated to New York.

The Tietzes were socially prominent art historians. The attention Kokoschka gave to their nervous, sensitive hands is a clue to the charac...

Oil on canvas
76.5 x 136.2cm
Image © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / Pro Litteris, Zurich
Text © MoMA - Museum of Modern Art, New York

Where you'll find this

The Museum of Modern Art
Permanent collection