Oskar Kokoschka. Artist of the Century
Oskar Kokoschka. Jahrhundertkünstler

Goerner Cover
Paul Zsolnay Verlag
August 2018 / 352pp
Biography and Memoir

The Goethe-Institut supported the English translation of this book.

Get information on the English version here (UK).


This impressive biography of Oskar Kokoschka considers his artistic and literary œuvre against the backdrop of the times he lived in, including a detailed account of the decade he spent in Britain. This is the first major biography of Kokoschka for thirty years and it offers new and unexpected insights into the life of this influential figure.

Rüdiger Görner considers the personal, artistic and political dimensions of Oskar Kokoschka’s fascinating life. Kokoschka was one of the lovers of arguably the most notorious femme fatale of the twentieth century, Alma Mahler-Werfel, who continued to influence his life and work long after the end of their relationship. Kokoschka’s determination to reject abstract art – which he associated with an increasingly impersonal technocratic world – is seen by Görner as the basis for his many portraits and self-portraits. The moral dimension of Kokoschka’s work is underlined by one of his surprising ambitions: to produce a portrait of Gandhi, in the hope that it might inspire change in the world’s thinking.

This book is essential reading for anyone interested in the cultural and political history of the twentieth century, reshaping our understanding of Kokoschka’s life and times.

about the author

Rüdiger Görner was born in 1957 in Rottweil. He is the founding director of the Centre for Anglo-German Cultural Relations in London. Between 1999 and 2004, he was the director of the Institute of Germanic Studies at the University of London, and he has lectured widely in universities in Germany and the UK. In 2017, he received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in recognition of his contribution to Anglo-German relations.

rights information

Paul Zsolnay Verlag (Austria)


Tel: +43 (0)1505 766112


translation assistance

The Goethe-Institut supported the English translation of this book.

Get information on the English version here (UK).

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All recommendations from Autumn 2018