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Artists Oskar Kokoschka
Oskar Kokoschka Photo

Oskar Kokoschka

Austrian Painter, Printmaker, Draftsman, Sculptor, Poet, and Playwright

Movements and Styles: Expressionism, Modern Sculpture

Born: March 1, 1886 - Pöchlarn, Austria

Died: February 22, 1980 - Montreux, Switzerland

Oskar Kokoschka Timeline

Quotes

"There is no such thing as a German, French, or Anglo-American Expressionism! There are only young people trying to find their bearings in the world."
Oskar Kokoschka
"War was appalling, I didn't know if I would ever get out alive, but if I did I would climb the highest peak to see what motivates people to sacrifice their life for no reason."
Oskar Kokoschka
"How nothing, the nothingness in people can be so phenomenal. Like a miracle...that gave me courage, in that moment I was young again."
Oskar Kokoschka
"I usually start my paintings without having done any preliminary drawing: and I find that neither routine nor technique is of any help. I depend very much on being able to capture a mental impression that remains behind when the image itself has passed. In a face I look for the flash of the eye, the tiny shift of expression which betrays an inner movement. In a landscape I seek for the trickle of water that suddenly breaks the silence, or a grazing animal that makes me conscious of the distance or height of a range of mountains, or a lonely wayfarer whose shadow lengthens as evening falls."
Oskar Kokoschka

"Painting...isn't based on three dimensions, but on four. The fourth dimension is a projection of myself....The other three dimensions are based on the vision of both eyes...the fourth dimension is based on the essential nature of vision, which is creative."

Oskar Kokoschka Signature

Synopsis

Oskar Kokoschka moved daringly from a more decorative style into a bold, racy Expressionism. He came of age during turn-of-the-century Vienna, exploring Sigmund Freud's analysis of dreams and the unconscious as well as giving voice to the growing anxiety felt among the bourgeois class about the modern age. His disorienting compositions used bold brushstrokes and strong colors to confront the viewer. His freedom from stylistic constraint as well as his belief in the power of art to raise awareness of contemporary problems set an example for artists from the Abstract Expressionists in the mid-20th century to the Neo-Expressionists of the late-20th century.

Key Ideas

Like many Expressionists, Kokoschka eschewed the harmonious effects of color and form and instead created tempestuous compositions with clashing colors and contorted angles to create an emotional intensity meant to rouse the viewer from bourgeois tedium and conservatism.
Kokoschka's penchant for portrait painting and self-portraiture was unique among the Expressionists. Kokoschka was less concerned about portraying the physical features of his sitters as realistically as possible and more interested in capturing their, and his, inner psyche through exaggerated features, gestures, and brushstrokes.
An outspoken critic of the Nazis and Fascism and concerned with the predicaments of refugees from these regimes, Kokoschka believed that art could counter such power, and to this end, he never painted completely abstractly like some of his other avant-garde colleagues. He felt that in order for art to be as powerful as possible it needed to maintain a reference to the concrete world in which we live.

Biography

Oskar Kokoschka Photo

Childhood

Oskar Kokoschka was born in 1886 in Pöchlarn, a small town on the Danube, 100 kilometers west of Vienna. His father Gustav, from a German patrician family of goldsmiths, was a travelling salesman and, his mother Maria Romana (née Loidl) was a forester's daughter from the state of Styria in south east Austria. When asked about his childhood Kokoschka said that he was a very happy child and that his father gave him books which formed him as a man and an artist. Among these were an abbreviated version of the Odyssey and the Orbis Sensualium Pictus, a 1658 textbook for children written by Czech educator John Amos Comenius. From these his appreciation for classical literature and the arts began.

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Oskar Kokoschka Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Oskar Kokoschka
Interactive chart with Oskar Kokoschka's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Carl Otto Czeschka
Edvard MunchEdvard Munch
Vincent van GoghVincent van Gogh
Gustav KlimtGustav Klimt
Max BeckmannMax Beckmann

Personal Contacts

Adolf LoosAdolf Loos
Tomáš G. Masaryk
Wilhelm Furtwängler
Count Antoine Seilern
Mary Meerson

Movements

RenaissanceRenaissance
ExpressionismExpressionism
The BaroqueThe Baroque

Influences on Artist
Oskar Kokoschka
Oskar Kokoschka
Years Worked: 1905 - 1975
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Max BeckmannMax Beckmann
Egon SchieleEgon Schiele
Jackson PollockJackson Pollock
Georg BaselitzGeorg Baselitz
Francesco ClementeFrancesco Clemente

Personal Contacts

Movements

Abstract ExpressionismAbstract Expressionism
Neo-ExpressionismNeo-Expressionism

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Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

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Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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