The Red Egg

The Red Egg, 1940-1941,
Oscar Kokoschka,
Oil on canvas,

After his flight to England in 1938, Oscar Kokoschka produced a number of poignant paintings related to current war developments.

This painting is an satire scene showing the English lion and a French pussycat helping Hitler and Mussolini dismantle Czechoslovakia during the Munich Agreement in septembre 1938.
Hitler is wearing a pointed clown's hat. His mouth hangs open in shock.
Mussolini's face is massive and the largest one.
Great Britain appears through the crowned lion the tail of which trains the symbol of the English £ivre. France is also evoked thanks to the presence of the three-coloured Rosette (on the left).
The roast chicken of the dinner, complete wtih knife in back, is a metaphor for Czechoslovakia and her refugees in exiled. She has flown the coop, but in her place she has left a pitiful remnant of herself, the broken red egg. Adding to the poignant scene, the city of Prague burns in the background.
All the Heads of state sit around a table, sharing the red egg. But the table is encircled with rats, images of the Nazi threat.
On piled books is an inscription: "Munchen Pact", making reference to the evoked event.

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