This book is a lyrical prose poem written and illustrated by Oskar Kokoschka. It contains eight colour photolithographs and three black and white (line block) lithographs.

The Dreaming BoysOriginal Title

Die Träumenden Knaben

Year of Production



Oskar Kokoschka




String, board, linen, paper, ink


height: 24.3 cm; width: 29.7 cm; depth 0.5 cm

Credit Line

Purchased from Mrs Margaret Fisher with MGC/V&A Purchase Fund assistance


© Fondation Oskar Kokoschka/ DACS 2013.

 V & A Purchase Grant Fund

* You can browse the entire book here

What is The Dreaming Boys?

This is the first book Kokoschka wrote and illustrated. 'Die traümenden Knaben' (The Dreaming Boys) was made following a commission to produce a children's book. However his illustrations accompanying the poem, in a folk-art style anticipating Expressionism, show flowing rivers teeming with red fish, slender youthful figures and dark forests full of animals. Kokoschka creates a more atmospheric and suggestive feel, which moves beyond more traditional children’s imagery.

Kokoschka’s confident use of black outlines and strong, bright colour shapes create an ornamental style influenced by Japanese woodcuts. He also dedicated the book to Gustav Klimt, who was a leading Austrian artist at the time and a strong influence on him.