Oskar Kokoschka was an Austrian artist and poet known for his Expressionist portraits and landscapes. The artist created works that seem to shiver with energy. “How do I define a work of art?” he once asked. “It is not an asset in the stock-exchange sense, but a man's timid attempt to repeat the miracle that the simplest peasant girl is capable of at any time, that of magically producing life out of nothing.” Born on March 1, 1886, in Pöchlarn, Austria, he grew up in Vienna and at 18 was awarded a scholarship to the city’s School of Arts and Crafts. In 1908, however, he was dismissed from the institution after he displayed works considered disturbing in both content and technique. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, he travelled across Europe, developing his distinctive method of exaggerated portraiture that dramatized his sitters’ psychological states. Having already fled the Nazi regime once, in 1937, his work was deemed “degenerate art” by the Nazis and he was forced to escape to England. He later settled in Villeneuve near Geneva, where he taught at the Internationale Sommer Akademie für Bildenden Künste. In 1962, he was the subject of a major retrospective at the Tate Gallery in London. He died on February 22, 1989 in Montreux, Switzerland at the age of 93. Today, his works are held in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Kunstmuseum Basel, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, and the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, among others.