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Oskar Kokoschka’s The Dreaming Youths

Part 6: Sleeping Girl

This is the only one of the lithographs to comply with Kokoschka’s brief to produce a children’s fairytale. A sleeping girl sits on a small island surrounded by water, with a stone wall, forest and castle-like structure in the distance. The pairing of two reindeer, two blue birds amidst the undergrowth, and two red fish emphasises the girl’s solitude.

Kokoschka’s use of vivid colours within bold, black outlines relates to his childhood practice of using a paint-box to colour in ‘the black and white pictures in the books of myths…using the colours I liked best: red, green, yellow and blue’.

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