Kokoschka, Oskar (ôsˈkär kōkôshˈkä) [key], 1886–1980, Austrian expressionist painter and writer. After teaching at the art academy in Dresden (1920–24), Kokoschka traveled extensively in Europe and N Africa. In 1937 his works were removed from German galleries by the Nazis, who considered his work degenerate. He moved to London in 1938 and after World War II lived in Switzerland and established an international summer school in Salzburg.
Kokoschka was influenced by the elegant work of Klimt, but soon developed his own distinctive expressionist style (see expressionism). His early portraits (c.1909–14) emphasize psychological insight and tension (e.g., the portrait of Hans Tietze and his wife, 1909; Mus. of Modern Art, New York City). The same restless, energetic draftsmanship is characteristic of his expressionist landscapes and his striking posters and lithographs. His landscapes include Jerusalem (Detroit Inst. of Arts) and View of Prague (Phillips Memorial Gall., Washington, D.C.).
See his volume of watercolors, drawings, and writings (1962); reproductions of his work, comp. by B. Bultmann (1961), L. Goldscheider (1963), E. G. Rathenau (1970), and J. Tomeš (1972); biography by E. Hoffmann (1947).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.