Sven Simon, Kokoschka malt Berlin (Kokoschka paints Berlin), 1966

Cover back and front

Cover back and front

 

This 24-page oversized newspaper supplement was published on the occasion of the opening of the Axel Springer Verlag building in Berlin, October 6th 1966. The famous German publisher Axel Springer commissioned Austrian artist & painter Oskar Kokoschka to paint a Berlin cityscape (Kokoschka had already been commissioned by Springer in 1958 to produce a similar painting of Hamburg). With views directly towards East Berlin from the newly-built publishing house by the Berlin wall, Kokoschka painted for twelve days. Photographer and journalist Sven Simon (aka Axel Springer Jr, Springer’s son) documented the event in August 1966. He mainly used a wide-angle lens, which facilitated these wonderfully close and intimate images. Kokoschka looks at times sceptical, at others amused, and allows the photographer to capture these moments. In the middle of this publication is a page with six close-up portraits of the painter in a more controlled studio environment. This is immediately followed by a series of Life-magazine-style ‘reportage’ photographs showing Kokoschka and Springer together, at the end of the assignment. Springer’s admiration and respect for Kokoschka is clearly visible in these photographs. The publication closes with a fold-out showing the finished painting of Berlin. Kokoschka was also present at the opening of the Axel Springer building in October 1966.
Although mass-produced and widely distributed, like most newspaper publications these were for the most part thrown away, so is now relatively hard to find, and certainly worth treasuring.

Layout by graphic design genius Willy Fleckhaus.

Released as a supplement to Axel Springer publications October 1966

Soft cover

26.5 x 33.4cm

24 pages plus one fold-out

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Opening pages with Oskar Kokoschka’s facsimile signature

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The finished painting

The finished painting “Berlin, 13. August 1966”