Oskar Kokoschka (Austrian, 1886–1980) was a writer and artist, known as a pioneer of Expressionist painting. Born in the town of Pöchlarn, Kokoschka studied at the School of Arts and Crafts in Vienna. In 1908, the artist displayed works at the Vienna Art Show that were considered so disturbing, he was dismissed from school.

His first solo show was held at the Galerie Paul Cassirer, Berlin, in 1910, followed later that year by another at the Folkwang Museum in Essen. In 1910, he also began to contribute to Herwarth Walden’s avant-garde publication Der Sturm, and divided his time between Berlin and Vienna over the next four years. During this time, Kokoschka focused on painting portraits of celebrities, executed in a wildly energetic style. In 1915, he enlisted in the army, and was seriously wounded on the eastern front. He settled in Dresden in 1917 to recover, and, two years later, accepted a position at the academy there.

During the 1920 and 1930s, Kokoschka traveled widely in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, and executed a number of landscapes in watercolor. In 1931, he returned to Vienna but, as a result of the Nazis’ growing power, relocated to Prague in 1935. In 1937, his work was declared “degenerate art” by the Nazis, and removed from public institutions. The artist then fled to England in 1938, and held his first solo show in the United States that same year at the Buchholz Gallery in New York.

In 1953, he moved to Villeneuve, near Geneva, and began teaching at the Internationale Sommer Akademie für Bildenden Künste. Kokoschka’s collected writings were published in 1956, and around this time he became involved in stage design. In 1962, he was given a retrospective at the Tate Gallery in London.

Kokoschka died in Montreux, Switzerland.

Today, his works can be found in institutions around the world, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Folkwang Museum, and the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum in Spain.

Timeline

1886
Born in Pöchlarn, Austria
1907
Joined Wiener Werkstätte
1908
Work shown at the Kunstschau exhibition in Vienna
1908
Published his first book of poetry
1905–1909
Entered the Kunstgewerbeschule in Vienna, Austria
1909
Work shown at the second Kunstschau
1910
Began work at Hewarth Walden’s magazine Der Sturm
1914
Enlisted in Austro-Hungarian Army
1916
Severely wounded on the Eastern front and discharged in Vienna
1917
Settled in Dresden to recuperate
1917–1923
Taught at the Academy of Arts in Dresden, Germany
1924
Dismissed from the Academy of Arts in Dresden, Germany
1932
Exhibits at the Venice Biennale
1937
Escaped Nazi persecution as degenerate artist; relocated to Prague, Czechoslovakia
1947
Emigrated to England and becomes a British citizen
1952
Taught at the Minneapolis School of Art
1953
Established The School of Seeing in Salzburg, Austria
1962
Honored with a retrospective at the Tate Gallery
1970
Began writing autobiography, Mein Leben (My Life)
1980
Died February 22 in Montreux, Switzerland

Exhibitions

1996–1997
Kokoschka und Dresden, Österreichische Galerie and other venues Vienna, Austria
1994–1995
Kokoschka: Emigrantleben, Kunsthalle Bielefeld Bielefeld, Germany
1994
Oskar Kokoschka: Das Frühwerk, Guggenheim Museum and other venues New York, NY
1992
Richard Gerstl - Oskar Kokoschka, Galerie St. Etienne New York, NY
1991
Oskar Kokoschka, Kunstforum Wien Vienna, Austria
1991
Degenerate Art: The Fate of the Avant-Garde in Nazi Germany, Los Angeles County Museum of Art Los Angeles, CA
1986–1987
Oskar Kokoschka 1886-1980, Tate Gallery and other venues London, England
1986–1987
Nov. 25 - Jan. 31, "Oskar Kokoschka and His Time", Galerie St. Etienne, New York
1986
Vienna 1900, Museum of Modern Art New York, NY
1986
Otto Kallir-Nirenstein: Ein Wegbereiter Österreichischer Kunst, Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien Vienna, Austria
1986
Vienne 1880-1938, Centre Pompidou Paris, France
1986
Viennese Design & the Wiener Werkstätte, Galerie St. Etienne New York, NY
1985
Traum und Wirklichkeit, Künstlerhaus Vienna, Austria
1984
Le Arti a Vienna, Palazzo Grassi Venice, Italy
1984
Arnold Schoenberg's Vienna, Galerie St. Etienne New York, NY
1981
Austria's Expressionism, Galerie St. Etienne New York, NY
1978
Oskar Kokoschka, Museum of Modern Art Kamakura, Japan
1971
Oskar Kokoschka, Národni Galerie Prague, Czechoslovakia
1969
Creative Austria - 20th Century, Philadelphia Civic Center Philadelphia, PA
1957
German Art of the 20th Century, Museum of Modern Art New York, NY
1953
Deutsche Kunst--Meisterwerke des 20. Jahrhunderts, Kunstmuseum Lucerne, Switzerland
1951
Oskar Kokoschka, Schloss Charlottenburg Berlin, Germany
1949
Oskar Kokoschka, Museum of Modern Art New York, NY
1945
Klimt, Schiele, Kokoschka, Neue Galerie Vienna, Austria
1940
Oskar Kokoschka, Galerie St. Etienne New York, NY
1938
Oskar Kokoschka, Buchholz Gallery New York, NY
1937
Degenerate Art, Circulated by the Nazis
1937
Oskar Kokoschka, Österreichisches Museum für Kunst und Industrie Vienna, Austria
1928
Oskar Kokoschka, Leicester Galleries London, England
1924
Oskar Kokoschka, Neue Galerie Vienna, Austria
1914
Munich Secession Munich, Germany
1912
Der Blaue Reiter, Expressionisten, Galerie Der Sturm Berlin, Germany
1911
Ausstellung des "Hagenbundes", Vienna, Austria
1910
Oskar Kokoschka, Galerie Paul Cassirer Berlin, Germany
1909
Internationale Kunstschau, Vienna, Austria
1908
Kunstschau, Vienna, Austria