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The Work & Loves of Artists Klimt & Kokoschka
Oscar Kokoschka may be a lesser known artist than Gustav Klimt, but what do they both have in common with composer and conductor Gustav Mahler besides their homeland?
Oskar Kokoschka was an Austrian Expressionist who is best known for his painting, "Bride of the Wind" (1913-1914), also known as "The Tempest" which can be seen at the Kunstmuseum Basel.
"Bride of the Wind" is an allegorical painting of the artist and his lover, Alma Mahler, widow of Gustav Mahler. Alma is shown asleep while the artist lies beside her with his eyes wide open.
The same Alma may have had a fling with Gustav Klimt when she was a young girl.
She married Gustav Mahler in 1902, a man nineteen years older. After his death in 1911, she had a "tumultuous" affair (1912-1914) with Oskar Kokoschka who would love her for the rest of his life despite her return (after a previous relationship) and eventual marriage to architect Walter Gropius.
Kokoschka was influenced by van Gogh as well as the Spanish painter El Greco.
He painted, "Two Nudes (Lovers)" (1913) which depicts the artist and Alma in an embrace, yet they are moving away from one another. The artist’s haunted expression as well as the expressive brushwork alludes to the couple’s turbulent relationship.
This painting can be seen at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA and an art print of the same work can be purchased from Allposters.com at the end of this article.
Gustav Klimt is considered a Symbolist painter, yet some critics feel he contributed little to the story of art history. Nevertheless, "The Kiss"
(1907-1908) is a painting perhaps as well known as Leonardo’s "Mona Lisa." Painted during Klimt’s "Golden Period" this painting can be seen at the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna, Austria.
The subject matter of "The Kiss" is yet another couple embracing (perhaps Klimt and his companion Emilie Flöge - although that allegation was never confirmed). The artist’s use of oil paint and gold leaf makes "The Kiss" undoubtedly modern and evocative.
Gustav Klimt was born in 1862, Vienna celebrated his 150th birthday in 2012.
Happy Birthday Gustav!
You can own an art print of "Couple d'Amants" or "Two Nudes (Lovers)" (1913).
There is a fascinating DVD by the same title as the painting, "Bride of the Wind." I have seen this movie and I loved it!
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