Re/Casting Kokoschka: Ethics and Aesthetics, Epistemology and Politics in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna


"Re/Casting Kokoschka is an interpretive study of Kokoschka's early Expressionist portraiture within the context of the intellectual, political, and artistic crossfire of fin-de-siecle Viennese culture. The text investigates the way Kokoschka, as well as his major patrons - the architect. Adolf Loos and the satirist Karl Kraus - differentiated Expressionism from Art Nouveau (the style practiced by Gustav Klimt). Art Nouveau, it was claimed, was decorative and superficial, while Expressionism, conversely, revealed the "truth" of human emotional states. Klimt's work was decried as deceptive and decadent, while Kokoschka's was touted as perceptive and profound. This book outlines how the concerns for truth expressed by Loos, Kraus, and Kokoschka for architecture, language, and art, respectively, were also shared by the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. And although Wittgenstein's early work strongly reflects the ideas of Loos, Kraus, and Kokoschka, his later work is shown to move in an opposite direction. Intriguingly, a close scrutiny of Wittgenstein's later philosophy reveals serious criticisms of the ideas endorsed by Kokoschka's intellectual circle, as well as of many of the assumptions held by fin-de-siecle artists and intellectuals about the interconnections of ethics, aesthetics, epistemology, and politics. This book has sixty-five figures." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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