Artist biography

Oskar Kokoschka 1886-1980

Expressionist painter, draughtsman and lithographer of portraits, landscapes and figure subjects; author of several plays and other writings. Born at Pöchlarn, Austria, of Czech and Austrian parentage. Studied at the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts 1905-9. His early paintings and plays aroused intense antagonism, but he was befriended by Adolf Loos, with whose help he received his first commissions for portraits; also contributed drawings to the Berlin periodical Der Sturm. First one-man exhibition at the Galerie Paul Cassirer, Berlin, 1910. Badly wounded in 1915 serving on the Eastern Front. Moved in 1917 to Dresden and taught at the Dresden Academy 1919-24. From 1924 period of travel in Europe and North Africa; series of views of great European cities. After the rise of the Nazis, whom he always outspokenly opposed, he moved in 1934 to Prague, then in 1938 to England. Became a British subject in 1947. From 1953 lived mainly at Villeneuve in Switzerland. Ran a summer painting school, the Schule des Sehens (School of Seeing) at Salzburg 1953-63; designed sets and costumes for the theatre and the opera. His autobiography Mein Leben was published in 1971. Died in Montreux.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.391