Oskar Kokoschka: A Rebel from Vienna
Guggenheim Bilbao – Until Sep 03, 2023, Bilbao (Spain)
In collaboration with the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao dedicates a major retrospective to Austrian artist Oskar Kokoschka. His oeuvre spans the entire 20th century starting in pre World War I Vienna. Inspired by the city’s vibrant atmosphere, Kokoschka’s early masterpieces are radical in their motives and experiments with color. He increasingly abandons the decorative style of Viennese Art Nouveau in favor of sharp angular lines that give the bodies their extraordinary quality. The impact of this new style is reflected in the influence it had on colleagues like.
Shocked Viennese public.
Egon Schiele and the reactions of the shocked Viennese public. After 1908, and thanks to Adolf Loos, one of his earliest patrons, the young artist received many portrait commissions. In the subsequent period, Kokoschka had a short but intense relationship with Alma Mahler, fought in World War I, and moved to Dresden in 1916.
The paintings of this period stand out due to the rapidly applied and intense colors, which are skillfully juxtaposed to heighten their intensity. During the following years, Kokoschka extensively traveled, thanks to his gallerist Paul Cassirer, creating an outstanding series of landscape paintings that capture the atmosphere of each place he visited.
Prague in 1934.
Because of the unrest prevailing in his homeland, Kokoschka goes to Prague in 1934. The paintings that he now created show people in bucolic landscapes and thus seem like an escape from reality. Kokoschka further developed this allegorical approach in England, where he had fled after the annexation of Austria by the National Socialists. In exile, the political commitment of the artist, who had been classified as “degenerate” by the Nazis, intensified.
His wife Olda
After the war, Kokoschka and his wife Olda moved to Switzerland. He now became one of the most ardent advocates of a united Europe. In his works, he returned to the radical directness of his early days as the enfant terrible of the Viennese art world. Although his last period of creation has often been neglected, it inspired an entire generation of artists eager to rediscover the power of painting.