The beauty, eccentricity and sorrow of the life of the Austrian painter Oskar Kokoschka is eloquently expressed in his most famous work Die Windsbraut (The Tempest/The Storm, sometimes called The Bride of the Wind). Expressionist in style, cool in tone, comforting despite the turbulence of the brush strokes. Kokoschka served in the First World War and was eventually diagnosed as mentally unfit after being wounded in action.
The love that inspired this particular work was the widow of the famed composer Gustav Mahler, Alma Mahler. It was a troubled, fleeting relationship, but from it emerged The Tempest, and his poem “Allos Markar”.
Not to be deterred by the vicissitudes of reality, and perhaps an early model for the recent film “Lars and the Real Girl”, Kokoschka had a life-sized doll of Alma created. He took his ersatz bride to the opera on occasion, went to parties with her and had a maid to dress her. There were also, at the very least, insinuations that he was treating the doll… well, in the way that men tend to treat “Real Girls”.
According to Pliny painting originated when a woman traced her lover’s shadow on the wall. He would leave in the morning. He would never return. In a similar vein, many commentators have connected art with loss.
Kokoschka seems to have relived the legend.
While looking up information I also came accros a song by the German neo-folk group Belborn:
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