Kokoschka, Oskar

Oskar Kokoschka, famous painter, main master of Expressionism; born on 1 March 1886 in Pöcklarn, Austria, emigrated to England in 1938, became a British citizen in 1947; 1905-1909 studied at the Vienna School of Applied Arts, under Gustav Klimt; worked at the Vienna workshops; belonged to the circle of the 'Sturm' in Berlin, settled in Dresden in 1917; 1914-1918 military service, in 1915 he was seriously wounded. 1919 appointed professor at the Dresden Academy. Kokoschka also distinguishes himself as a writer. His drama 'Mörder Hoffnung der Frauen' (Murderer Hope of Women) is set to music by Hindemith in 1920. Kokoschka's artistic development began primarily through drawing. In painting he knows how to interweave a reference to the Impressionist approach with the impulsive, expressive style; observation and improvisation enter into a reality-related as well as lyrical-dramatic connection. 1923 (and 1947) stay in Switzerland, 1924-1930 travels through Europe, 1931/1933 returns to Vienna, 1934-1938 in Prague, 1938 flees to London, where he resides until 1952/53. In 1953 he founded the Schule des Sehens in Salzburg and taught there at the International Summer Academy until 1963. He still creates stage designs for Salzburg and Vienna; is honoured, receives the Rome Prize in 1959; together with Marc Chagall, the Erasmus Prize in Copenhagen in 1960. From 1953 until his death on 11 February 1980, Oskar Kokoschka lived with his wife Olda Kokoschka in Villeneuve, Switzerland. In 1987 she founded the Oskar Kokokscha Foundation, based at the Musée Jenisch Vevey, Switzerland. In both the first and second halves of his life, Kokoschka produced an extensive oeuvre of paintings and graphic works, which received worldwide recognition and found their way into the most prestigious collections and museums. These include his expressionist portraits, landscapes, flowers as well as fantastic-dramatic and dreamlike compositions. With his painting he unleashes a free-flowing gestural richness of colour that always betrays the draughtsman. His major lithographic episodes include: 1913, The Bound Columbus; 1914, O Eternity, Thou Word of Thunder; 1917, Job; 1963, King Lear; published in 1956, edited by H.M. Wingler, his 'Writings 1907-1955; 1971, My Life; 1973, Poems and Dramas. This biography is subject to copyright. (c) Evi Kliemand, 1998. All rights reserved. Reproduced with kind permission of the author.