The Austrian painter, graphic artist and writer Oskar Kokoschka was born on 1 March 1886 in Pöchlarn on the Danube. As an "enfant terrible" he shapes the art of the turn of the century and is today one of the most important representatives of Viennese Modernism and a seminal pioneer of Expressionism. Oskar Kokoschka died on 22 February 1980 at the age of 94 years.
After attending the imperial and royal Staatsrealschule (secondary school) in Vienna/ Mödling he started at the Vienna School of Applied Art in 1904 and while still studying worked for the Wiener Werkstätte from 1907-09. At the exhibitions of the Kunstschau in Vienna in 1908 and 1909 his works caused a sensation. In 1910 he travelled to Berlin to support Herwarth Walden with the publication of the progressive journal Sturm. Apart from numerous ink drawings Kokoschka’s play Mörder, Hoffnung der Frauen (Murderer, Hope of Women) was published in this journal. In 1912 his love affair with Alma Mahler-Schindler began; in October he became an assistant for one year at the College of Applied Art in Vienna. After the breakdown of his relationship with Alma Mahler he volunteered for military service at the beginning of the war, but in 1915 was seriously wounded in Galicia. After convalescing in Vienna, in 1916 he accompanied a group of war painters to the Isonzo Front where he created numerous drawings in coloured chalk. In 1917 he made friends with the circle of artists and writers around the actress Käthe Richter in Dresden; from 1919 until 1924 he was professor at the Dresden Academy. After this Kokoschka embarked on extensive travels through Europe, to North Africa, Palestine, Istanbul and Jerusalem. The political events in Austria eventually forced Kokoschka to move to Prague in 1934. In 1937, in the course of the campaign against ‘degenerate art’, 417 of Kokoschka’s works were removed from German museums and many of these destroyed. Due to the increasingly precarious situation for artists in the Nazi period he emigrated to London in 1938 and in 1947 decided to become a British citizen. After the war Kokoschka received numerous honours and took part in many important exhibitions. He also taught at and was co-founder of the ‘School of Vision’ at the International Summer Academy of Art in Salzburg. In 1953 he moved to Villeneuve on Lake Geneva where he spent the last years of his life, interspersed with extensive travels. Oskar Kokoschka died on 22 February 1980 at the age of ninety-four.