Britannica Concise Encyclopedia:Oskar Kokoschka
(born March 1, 1886, Pöchlarn, Austria — died Feb. 22,
1980, Villeneuve, Switz.) Austrian painter and writer. He studied and
taught at the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts but was dissatisfied
because the school omitted study of the human figure, his primary
artistic interest. His early paintings were rendered in delicate,
agitated lines and relatively naturalistic colours. After c. 1912
he became a leading exponent of Expressionism;
his portraits came to be painted with increasingly broader strokes of
more varied colour and heavier outlines. While recovering from a wound
received in World War I, he wrote, produced, and staged three plays; his
Orpheus and Eurydice (1918) became an opera by Ernst
Krenek (1926). The landscapes he produced during 10 years of
teaching and travel mark the second peak of his career. Shortly before
World War II he fled to London, where his paintings became increasingly
political and antifascist. He continued his political art after moving
to Switzerland in 1953.
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Art Encyclopedia:Oskar Kokoschka
(b P?chlarn, Lower Austria, 1 March 1886; d Montreux, 22
Feb 1980). Austrian painter, printmaker and writer. He revolutionized
the art of the turn of the century, adopting a radical approach to art,
which was for him essential to the human condition and politically
engaged. Kokoschka promoted a new visual effect in painting, related to
making visible the immaterial forces active behind the external
appearance of things, in which the object was a living, moving substance
that revealed its inner essence to the eye. This applied to the
portraits as well as to the townscapes. The art-historical basis for his
work lies in the painting tradition of Austrian late Baroque and
especially in the colourfully expressive visions of Franz Anton
Maulbertsch. As was true of many artists of his generation, Kokoschka's
creative urge was also expressed in literature and showed a clear
inclination towards music and theatre.
Renowned for his "psychoanalytical" portraits and
landscapes, Austrian painter, graphic artist, and author Oskar Kokoschka
(1886-1980) was a leading exponent of Expressionism and a key figure in
the art of Central Europe.
Oskar Kokoschka was born
on March 1, 1886, in Pöchlarn, Austria. At the age of 18, he won a
scholarship to the Arts and Crafts School in Vienna, where he studied
from 1905 to 1909. As early as 1907 he produced his first portraits,
which have expressive power, and he began his career landscapes, still
lifes, and compositions of a symbolical or religious character. His
first book, The Dreaming Boys (1908), a poem he wrote,
illustrated, printed, and bound himself, shows the influence of William
Morris. Kokoschka also wrote his first plays at this time.
1910, sponsored by his friend and prominent architect, Adolf Loos,
Kokoschka made his first journey abroad, painting landscapes and
portraits in Switzerland (for example, the portrait of Auguste Forel;
the landscape Dent du Midi). He also went to Berlin, where he
supplied a regular feature, the "portrait of the week," for the
periodical Der Sturm. By World War I he was famous in Austria and
Germany. Seriously wounded at the Russian front in 1916, Kokoschka
was invalided to Dresden. In 1919 he became professor at the Academy of
Arts there, where he remained until 1924.
Kokoschka then began a
series of journeys that lasted until 1931. He painted the people,
landscapes, and great cities of practically every country in Europe and
North Africa. In the magnificent landscape series, he used impressionist
techniques interpreted in a highly personal, dramatic manner.
lived in Vienna from 1931 to 1934, when he moved to Prague,
Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic). He painted this city more than
any other, with London taking second place. In 1937 his works in German
public collections were removed by the Nazis as "degenerate."
1938 Kokoschka and his wife, Olda, emigrated to London, where they
spent World War II. The artist became a British citizen in 1947. After
the war he made several journeys, all as important for his later work as
were his travels in the 1920s. There were several trips to Italy
(exhibition at the Venice
Biennale in 1948), the United States (lectures in Boston in 1949
and in Minneapolis in 1952), and Germany.
In 1953 Kokoschka moved
from London to Villeneuve on Lake Geneva, Switzerland. That year,
deciding to counteract
the spread of abstract art, he founded the School of Seeing in
Salzburg. He said: "With astonishment we must view the fact that artists
feel themselves obliged to break a lance for modern science. The theory
of so-called nonobjective art postulates
a theoretical system, analogous to the scientific hypothesis, which is
detached from the world of visual perception."
Kokoschka worked in
all media, producing watercolors, book illustrations, monumental
compositions (The Prometheus Saga, 1950; Thermopylae,
1954; Amor and Psyche), and stage designs (Mozart's The Magic
Flute, 1955; The Fettered Phantasy by Raimund,
1962; Verdi's Un ballo in maschera, 1963). In 1962 he had a
retrospective exhibition of paintings, drawings, lithographs, stage
designs, and books at the Tate Gallery in London.
the grand old man of figurative painting in the 20th century. His
portraits were among the most remarkable of the century. His paintings
of cities evoke
the special spirit of each. He was also a teacher of the young in
defending the tenets
of European humanism. To celebrate his eightieth birthday in 1966,
large retrospective exhibitions were organized in many countries.
Introduction to Kokoschka (trans.
1958), Wingler's Oskar Kokoschka: The Work of the Painter (trans.
1958) contains a works list and life data. Kokoschka (1963),
with color plates, is introduced by a colloquy between the artist and
Ludwig Goldscheider. Fritz Schmalenbach, Oskar Kokoschka (trans.
1967), is an analytical study of his early style as a painter. Walter H.
Sokel, ed., The Anthology of German Expressionist Drama: A Prelude
to the Absurd (1963), contains two plays by Kokoschka, Murderer,
the Womańs Hope and Job. See also Edith Hoffmann, Oskar
German Literature Companion:Oskar Kokoschka
Kokoschka, Oskar (Pöchlarn/Danube, Austria,
1886-1980, Villeneuve), one of the greatest painters of the first half
of the 20th c., is best known for his dynamic Expressionist pictures of
figures and cities. Late in life he turned to mythological themes. From
1920 to 1928 he held a professorship in the Dresden Academy, but
thereafter devoted himself to painting and travel, which were intimately
linked. He emigrated from Prague to England in 1938, moving to
Villeneuve, Switzerland, in 1954. For many years he held a summer school
In 1907 Kokoschka wrote the playlet Mörder, Hoffnung
der Frauen (furnished with illustrations). Its treatment of sex was
radically novel, textually and in its stage artistry. Published in 1910
in the first number of Der
Sturm, it came to be regarded as the first Expressionist play
It was set to music by Hindemith
(1919, premiered 1921, Stuttgart). The short play Sphinx und
Strohmann (written 1907, published 1913) was turned into three acts,
re-titled Hiob, and, in 1917, produced by Kokoschka himself.
Another play on sex, written in 1911, was published in 1913 as Der
brennende Dornbusch. War experience led to the conception of his
only full-length play, Orpheus und Eurydike (1919). Die
träumenden Knaben (1907) and Der gefesselte Kolumbus (1920)
are notable cycles of drawings that are accompanied by a verse text. In
1956 appeared Spur im Treibsand, a volume of stories, in 1971 his
autobiography, Mein Leben, Oskar Kokoschkas Schriften
1907-55, ed. H. M. Wingler in 1956, Das schriftliche Werk, 4
vols., in 1973-6.
Columbia Encyclopedia:Oskar Kokoschka
Kokoschka, Oskar (ôs'kär kōkôsh'kä),
1886-1980, Austrian expressionist painter and writer. After teaching at
the art academy in Dresden (1920-24), Kokoschka traveled extensively in
Europe and N Africa. In 1937 his works were removed from German
galleries by the Nazis, who considered his work degenerate. He moved to
London in 1938 and after World War II lived in Switzerland and
established an international summer school in Salzburg.
influenced by the elegant work of Klimt,
but soon developed his own distinctive expressionist style (see expressionism).
His early portraits (c.1909-14) emphasize psychological insight and
tension (e.g., the portrait of Hans Tietze and his wife, 1909; Mus. of
Modern Art, New York City). The same restless, energetic draftsmanship
is characteristic of his expressionist landscapes and his striking
posters and lithographs. His landscapes include Jerusalem
(Detroit Inst. of Arts) and View of Prague (Phillips Memorial
Gall., Washington, D.C.).
his volume of watercolors, drawings, and writings (1962); reproductions
of his work, comp. by B. Bultmann (1961), L. Goldscheider (1963), E. G.
Rathenau (1970), and J. Tomeš (1972); biography by E. Hoffmann (1947).