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The Mandrill - Oskar Kokoschka - Framed Picture 16" x 12"


Oskar Kokoschka was an Austrian artist, poet and playwright best known for his intense expressionistic portraits and landscapes.

Among Kokoschka's early works were gesture drawings of children, which portrayed them as awkward and corpse-like. Kokoschka had no formal training in painting and so approached the medium without regard to the "traditional" or "correct" way to paint. The teachers at the Kunstgewerbeschule helped Kokoschka gain opportunities through the Wiener Werkstätte or Viennese Workshops.

He volunteered for service as a cavalryman in the Austrian army in World War I, and in 1915 was seriously wounded. At the hospital, the doctors decided that he was mentally unstable. Nevertheless, he continued to develop his career as an artist, traveling across Europe and painting the landscape.

Deemed a degenerate by the Nazis, Kokoschka fled Austria in 1934 for Prague. In Prague his name was adopted by a group of other expatriate artists, the Oskar-Kokoschka-Bund (OKB), though Kokoschka declined participation with their group. In 1938, when the Czechs began to mobilize for the expected invasion of the Wehrmacht, he fled to the United Kingdom and remained there during the war. With the help of the British Committee for Refugees from Czechoslovakia, all members of the OKB were able to escape through Poland and Sweden.

During World War II, Kokoschka painted anti-Fascist works such as the allegory "What We Are Fighting For". During several summer months, he and his young wife, Oldriska “Olda” Palkovská Kokoschka, lived in Ullapool, a village in Wester Ross, Scotland. There he drew with coloured pencil (a technique he developed in Scotland), and painted many local landscape views in watercolour.

Kokoschka became a British citizen in 1946 and would only regain Austrian citizenship in 1978. He traveled briefly to the United States in 1947 before settling in Switzerland, where he lived the rest of his life.

Kokoschka had much in common with his contemporary Max Beckmann. Both maintained their independence from German Expressionism, yet are now regarded as textbook examples of the style. Nonetheless, their individualism set both apart from the main movements of twentieth-century modernism.

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