Joseph Otto Flatter (England, 1894- )

Figure 1.--Flatter painted this portrait of an English sdchoolboy, "The Red Cap" in 1938 just oprior to World War II.

The Artist

Joseph Otto Flatter was born in Vienna in 1894.


The authors have no information on his Austrian childhood or boyhood clothes.


Flatter was a student at the Vienna Academy of Fine Art.

Family Life

Flatter in 1934 married the concert pianist Hilda Lorwa and settled with her in London. His career was interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War and he was in fact, briefly, and quite incorrectly, interned as an "enemy alien". He was soon released and returned to London, when it was realized that he had long standing anti-Nazi convictions.


Shortly after his release, Flatter began producing propaganda material for the British and Allied Governments. At the end of the war, he was invited to attended the Nuremberg Trials as an official British War Artist, sketching the accused and later painting a scene of the trial. His work is well represented at the Imperial War Museum in London, and most notably the Kuenstlerhaus in Vienna and recently the 'Artists in Exile' exhibitions in West Germany and the United Kingdom and many other museums in England and Europe.


Flatter painted many portraits. The portrait shown here is off an English schoolboy and entiled "The Red Cap". It was painted in 1938 just prior to the outbreak of World War II. The quintessential portrait of an English schoolboy, it is a delightful and sensitive portrait of a young English school boy. He has the wonderful rosy cheeks of time spent out-of-doors on the playing field. And yet, their is an introspective air about him, perhaps more the young scholar. Shown seated wearing his cap and school tie. He appears to be wearing a grey suit. Some English schools had blazers for an everyday uniform, but had suits for the boys to wear when dressing up. As this is a formal occaion, the boy werars a white rather than a grey shirt. Some schools had suits rather than blazers. The boy here has a wistful look upon his face, this handsome portrait conjures up the innocent and carefree times of youth.

Christopher Wagner

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Created: October 10, 2000
Last updated: October 10, 2000