‘Expressionist’ Oskar Kokoschka’s most famous painting (Bride of the Wind) Oskar Kokoschka, an Painter Of The Night, poet, and dramatist of Czech ancestry, was recognised for his extremely dramatic representations. “The Tempest (Bride of the Wind),” an oil on canvas painting that measures 5’11” x 7’3″ and was made in 1914, is one of his most stunning and spectacular works. Oskar Kokoschka composed the background for “The Tempest” employing subtle colour tones of pastel green and pink, with a notable usage of dark blue and grey. The illustration’s magical quality is enhanced by Kokoschka’s use of a drab colour scheme. In grief over his failed deep and passionate love affair with his muse Alma Mahler, he created “The Tempest” (a Viennese socialite who was a widow of composer Gustav Mahler). It was a tribute to her that the strange painting was created.
Alma and Oskar are depicted naked to the waist in “The Tempest (Bride of the Wind),” entangled on a shell-like vessel afloat on stormy waters. They appear to have been in a shipwreck and are now stranded in the middle of the ocean. Their facial expressions and body language are strikingly different and reveal a lot about their personalities. Alma is soundly sleeping on her side. Her lovely face is peaceful, seemingly oblivious to the dangers that surround them. On the other hand, Oskar, who hasn’t had any sleep, is laying next to her. As though gripped by stress, he appears to be peering into thin air. He appears frail, and parts of his body appear bruised. The ferocious brushwork of rich impasto colour emphasises the savagery of the waves. The swirly background ‘Symbolizes’ their tumultuous and passionate relationship. Kokoschka skilfully layers colours and mixes to form a silhouette of shapes. The waves appear to leave imprints of phantom people in some areas, which most likely represent Oskar’s traumas. Oskar’s strongly ‘Expressionist’ style of work is exemplified in “The Tempest.”
George Traki, an Austrian poet, had the opportunity to see the picture before it was completed. He was so taken with the illustration that he immediately wrote a poem called ‘The Night.’ ‘Over the blackish rocks, Plunges death inebriated, the incandescent Bride of the wind,’ for example. Oskar called his artwork “The Tempest (Bride of the Wind)” after the lyric. Through his remarkable talent and masterful vision, he creates a visual delight in “The Tempest.” Many novels and films have been inspired by this magnificent and unusual work of art. The picture is now on display in Basel’s Kunstmuseum.
Annette Labedzki earned her bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Emily Carr College of Art and Design in Vancouver, British Columbia. She has over 25 years of expertise in the field. She is the creator and founder of an online art gallery that showcases original artwork from around the world. It’s a fantastic place to acquire original art for art aficionados. It also serves as a venue for artists to exhibit and sell their work.