Oskar Kokoschka scandal artist, mad genius of the XX century

Oskar Kokoschka Ludwing Ritter von Janikowsky
Ludwing Ritter von Janikowsky

Oskar Kokoschka (born March 1, 1886 died February 22, 1980) is an outstanding, talented, incredibly courageous and provocative in his creative expressions Austrian Jew of Czech origin working in the 20th century.

Oskar Kokoschka was not afraid to experiment with styles and genres he painted portraits, then he was fond of landscape painting, drawing out the streets of European cities with large pasty strokes, or he turned to expressive political satire. Over the long years of the master’s life, his paintings were either forbidden, calling the artist a mediocrity, and his work itself degenerate, then they again began to appreciate, giving the best halls of European galleries for the author’s exhibitions. Kokoschka was an excellent writer, staged theatrical plays that invariably shocked the audience. Today the most prestigious prize in the field of contemporary painting has been named after the author.

Oskar Kokoschka Conte Verona
Conte Verona

Biography of Oskar Kokoschka

Little is known about his childhood Kokoschka came from a famous dynasty of jewelers, studied at school diligently, but without much zeal, being interested only in classical literature and drawing in his free time. Having obeyed his father, he entered a technical college, but, fortunately for world art, he did not manage to finish his studies there. Oscar’s first drawings did not impress the public. They were sketches of faces, distorted by pain and suffering, and views from the window.

One day, a chemistry teacher mockingly told the boy: “Such an ugliness will be popular in Vienna. The world is going crazy, let’s go to the competition of the same abnormal. And Oscar sent. And then, taking first place and receiving a scholarship, he went to study at the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts, where he spent from 1903 to 1909. Here Gustav Klimt himself became interested in him. Oskar’s business was going well, he took part in exhibitions, and in 1907 his play “The Assassin, the Hope of Women” was even staged on the Viennese stage.

Oskar Kokoschka Sleeping Woman
Sleeping Woman

The cruel and indecent production caused a scandal, due to which the artist was expelled from the Art Workshops, depriving him of the opportunity to earn money. But Oscar was not upset, but went to drink beer. Where, having argued that he would drink more than others, he suddenly found himself a new patron, literally imposed on friends. It was the renowned architect Adolf Loos.

During this period, before the First World War, Oskar Kokoschka traveled a lot around the world, visited Asia and Africa. He painted mainly portraits and gospel stories, rethinking events on a modern theme and thereby making them much closer to the public.

Oskar Kokoschka The Distant Island
The Distant Island

Personal life

In 1911, he met the femme fatale, Alma Maria Mahler-Werfel and fell in love. The romance was stormy, developed rapidly, the couple made loud scandals in public and just as loudly converged again. Oscar literally became obsessed with Alma, she had to be with him all the time, talk only with him. He wrote only her, breathed her, repeatedly made a marriage proposal. Alma, on the other hand, was in no hurry to marry a mad lover and, having become pregnant, had an abortion without hesitation.

The relationship ended during the First World War. Oscar went to the front, where he was wounded by a shot in the head and captured, and then recognized by military doctors as an unbalanced person who should not be given a weapon. When he was in the hospital, wounded, lost his memory, dying, Alma refused to meet with her former lover. They never saw each other again. After the war, the master ordered a rag doll in memory of his beloved, dressed her up in beautiful dresses and took her to the opera.

Oskar Kokoschka The Sleepers
The Sleepers
Pictures of the post-war period are filled with sadness and pain of the past.

Looping strokes, unfinished lines, gloomy, as if drawing deep into landscapes. At this time, the master was popular, but with the rise of the Nazis to power, his work was recognized as “degenerate” and banned.

In 1936, Oskar Kokoschka met his second and last love, young Olda Palkovska. They lived together all their lives, quietly, peacefully, without public scandals, and that is why Old’s name is often forgotten to be mentioned in the artist’s biographies.

Bessie Bruce
Bessie Bruce
The last days of life

Before the war, reasonably fearing persecution, the couple moved to London. Here the family survived the entire Second World War, Oscar painted many paintings, and then he could not return to Austria. At home, everything seemed oppressive to him, reminded of the war and Alma.

In 1953, the Kokoschki moved to Switzerland, where they lived until the end of their days. Oscar again traveled a lot and wrote a lot, was engaged in teaching work he taught a course at the Salzburg Academy of Arts. The master died on February 22, 1980. His wife founded a fund for his memory and for the rest of her life carefully collected diaries, manuscripts and sketches of the great genius.

Bride of the Wind
Bride of the Wind
Dents du Midi 1910
Dents du Midi 1910
Oskar Kokoschka Dolomite Landscape Three Crosses
Dolomite Landscape Three Crosses
Oskar Kokoschka Dresden Neustadt
Dresden Neustadt
Knight Errant (Self-Portrait)
Knight Errant (Self-Portrait)
Lovers with Cat
Lovers with Cat
Mother and Child
Mother and Child
Still life with a slaughtered lamb
Still life with a slaughtered lamb
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