Van Gogh •
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Oskar Kokoschka was born in Pöchlarn, Bohemia.
He began his course of study at the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts in 1905. At that time, Vienna was not only the capital of an empire but also the center of the new Freudian school of thought. Kokoschka was expelled from the school in 1908 for his Expressionist drawings and plays, which shocked the public. Between 1908 and 1914, Kokoschka worked as a designer and illustrator. He also painted a famous series of portraits, mainly of actors and writers, psychological studies illuminated by his penetrating vision. Severely wounded in battle in 1916, Kokoschka settled in Dresden in 1917 and taught at the Academy there from 1920 to 1924, working in an Expressionistic style in which brilliant and symbolic color is more important than the figurative content of the work. He then traveled widely throughout Europe, North Africa, and Asia Minor, and returned to Vienna in 1931.
After his involvement in the struggle against Nazism, he fled to Prague in 1934, and in 1938 left Central Europe for London to become an English subject. He lived at Villeneuve on Lake Geneva from 1954 until his death in 1980. Kokoschka believed that "for the creative man the problem is, first, to identify and define what darkens man's intellect; secondly, to set the mind free." His paintings and drawings express the distress of the creative mind faced with the brutalities of the world.