Oskar Kokoschka

An excellent characteristic Austrian artist, being not only a painter but also a talented poet, Oskar Kokoschka was the son of a goldsmith of Czech origin. Between 1903 and 1909, he was a student at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, though the portraits he painted at that time shocked the public because of their Expressionistic violence, which was the reason the artist was expelled from the university. He left Austria in 1910 and settled in Berlin, working as an illustrator for the art magazine Der Sturm. In World War I, Kokoschka volunteered for the Austrian Army. Seriously wounded in 1915, he took years to recover. His 'Orpheus und Eurydike' from 1918 expresses the terror Kokoschka experienced at the time. He had an affair with Alma Mahler, renowned for her beauty and intelligence. One of the artist’s greatest works was 'The Tempest (Bride of the Wind)', a tribute to his lover. As his art was condemned by the Nazis, he had to escape to Prague (where he painted the president of the Czech Republic, Tomas Masaryk) and in 1939 to the United Kingdom, where he received British citizenship, not to regain his Austrian one until 1978. After World War II, he settled in Switzerland, where he spent his last years.