Oskar Kokoschka

Oskar Kokoschka

Austrian artist and playwright, representative of expressionism
Date of Birth: 01.03.1886
Country: Austria

  1. Biography of Oskar Kokoschka
  2. Style and Artistic Development

Biography of Oskar Kokoschka

Oskar Kokoschka (1886–1980) was an Austrian painter, graphic artist, poet, and playwright. He was born on March 1, 1886, in Pöchlarn. From 1904 to 1909, Kokoschka studied at the School of Arts and Crafts in Vienna. Prior to World War I, he mainly lived in Berlin and Vienna, and also traveled to Switzerland, Paris, and Munich. In 1908, he participated in the activities of the first Berlin Secession. During the war, Kokoschka served on the frontlines. From 1920 to 1924, he taught at the Academy of Fine Arts in Dresden. He then traveled extensively throughout Europe and the Middle East, periodically living in Paris, Vienna, Prague, and London. Kokoschka passed away on February 22, 1980, in Montreux, Switzerland.

Style and Artistic Development

Kokoschka's works demonstrate changes in style and interests throughout his career. Before World War I, he specialized in portraits that displayed a remarkable depth of insight into the model's inner life. The artist's style during this period was characterized by a delicate linear interpretation of forms and freedom from descriptive realism (Portrait of Doctor Hermann Forel, Berlin, private collection). However, gradually, his technique began to demonstrate a greater interest in painting (Self-Portrait, New York, Museum of Modern Art), while still maintaining a subtle perception of the model.

In the 1920s, Kokoschka was considered one of the most talented German expressionists. During this period, he turned to landscape painting, which became his favorite genre. The introverted nature of his early works gave way to pieces in which the impulse was drawn from external sources, incorporating bold natural forms sculpted with impasto brushstrokes in vibrant tones (Elbe near Dresden, Detroit, Institute of Arts, and Marseille Harbor, St. Louis, City Museum of Art).

During World War II, there was a temporary lull in Kokoschka's creative output, but he later produced works that fully retained their expressiveness while becoming more nuanced in color and composition (Matterhorn Mountain, Zurich, H. Lutjens Collection).

In 1956, a collection of Kokoschka's selected literary works, created between 1907 and 1955, was published.