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Bride of the wind

Painting, 1914, 220×181 cm

Description of the artwork «Bride of the wind»


В одном из писем Кокошка пишет Альме: «Картина близится к завершению медленно, но все удачнее. Мы оба с выражением огромного спокойствия, обнявшись, на краю в полукруге, сверкающее разноцветными огнями море, водонапорная башня, горы, молния и луна». Увидев картину, муза признала в ней шедевр, но описывала его совсем иначе: «В своей масштабной картине «Невеста ветра» он изобраз

In 1913, Oskar Kokoschka measured the bed of his mistress Alma Mahler, cut the canvas of the same size, mixed paints and began painting his most important piece. It was important not to his contemporaries or descendants, it was important for the development of modern art and to him personally. If he creates a real masterpiece, Alma will marry him. And for him there can be no other happiness than this.

That year he painted hundreds of Alma's portraits - naked, sleeping, sexy, alluring, Alma's knees, Alma's hands. And that time he was about to paint her lying in bed at night. The canvas of a bed was gradually turning into the canvas of the element or the canvas of the storm, because that love was exhausting and insane. After leaving her sweetheart at nights, Oscar could stand at her door, guarding the imaginary rivals until the morning. Kokoschka wrote that since the Middle Ages no couple inhaled so much passion into each other. That was why the first title was "Tristan and Isolde". The Bride of the Wind title came up with the poet George Trakl who in alcoholic intoxication whispered new poems every night in Kokoschka's studio.

Alma Mahler, the widow of a composer Gustav Mahler, had an exceptional flair for genius and an inexplicable charm that drove men crazy. After her marriage and an affair with Kokoschka, an architect Walter Gropius and a writer Franz Werfel became her husbands. But she was not going to marry Kokoschka, she was drawn to the energy that the artist received from her, but she was frightened and repelled by his obsession. She did not hesitate to abort, as she did not want to have children with this madman, and later he tortured her by showing her the bloody cotton wool that he took from the hospital and telling her that it was his only child.

Kokoschka wrote to Alma in a letter: "The painting is close to completion, slowly but all the better. We are both expressing tremendous calm, embracing, on the edge of the semicircle, the sparkling colored lights of the sea, water tower, mountains, lightning and moon". Having seen the picture, Alma found it a masterpiece, but she described it quite differently: "In his large-scale painting  Bride of the Wind, he portrayed me trustingly clung to him in the midst of storms and towering waves – expecting his aid, while he, with a despotic face, radiates energy and humbles waves".

The painting was sold immediately. Kokoschka bought a horse and went to war. He came back after injuries to this head and chest, after wandering around hospitals and a nervous breakdown, when Vienna had already said goodbye to him as dead. Alma had already been the wife of Walter Gropius. They never saw each other again.

Written by Anna Sidelnikova
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About the artwork

This artwork was added since it is referred to in the materials below

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Portrait, Allegorical scene

Style of art: Expressionism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1914

Size: 220×181 cm

Artwork in selections: 63 selections