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Oskar Kokoschka
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Artist
    (March 1, 1886-February 22, 1980)
    Born in Pochlarn, Austria
    Painter, poet and playwright
    Paintings include ‘Crucifixion’ (1911), ‘The Bride of the Wind’ (1914), ‘Lovers with Cat’ (1917), ‘The Power of Music’ (1920), ‘Anschluss—Alice in Wonderland’ (1941), ‘What We Are Fighting For’ (1943), ‘The Prometheus Saga’ (1950), ‘Herodotus’ (1963) and ‘Time, Gentlemen, Please’ (1971)
    Wrote the plays ‘Murderer, the Hope of Women’ (1909) and ‘Orpheus and Eurydike’ (1918)
    Poetry collections include ‘The Dreaming Boys’ (1908)
    The first public exhibition of his works resulted in his being fired as a teacher at the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts (1909).
    After touring another exhibition, Archduke Franz Ferdinand declared, ‘This fellow’s bones ought to broken in his body.’
    For a while, he made ends meet by betting on his ability to drink challengers under the table.
    After a stormy affair with Gustav Mahler’s widow Alma ended, he commissioned a life-size doll to replace her, noting ‘In order to dress it with an equal elegance to Alma, I bought dresses and lingerie from the best Parisian houses.’
    He later decapitated the doll after a drunken party.
    Gustav Klimt called him ‘the outstanding talent among the younger generation.’
    During World War I, he was machine gunned and bayonetted.
    Paul Hindemith adapted his play ‘Murder, the Hope of Women’ into an opera.
    After being denounced by the Nazis as a ‘degenerate artist,’ he fled Vienna for Prague, then London.

Credit: C. Fishel


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