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The Arts Intel Report

A Cultural Compass
For the World Traveler
A Cultural Compass
For the World Traveler

Max Oppenheimer: Expressionist Pioneer

Max Oppenheimer, Portrait of the boy Manfred Osthaus, 1911.

Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Wien, Austria

In 1910, Max Oppenheimer was a leading artist in Austria’s avant-garde. He shared a studio with Egon Schiele, and was buddies with the city’s enfant terrible Oskar Kokoschka. And he’d already shown his revolutionary Expressionist work in two monumental art exhibitions co-organized by Gustav Klimt. Though Oppenheimer remained friends with Schiele for many years, his rivalry with Kokoschka ended infamously. Kokoschka accused Oppenheimer of plagiarism, discrediting his work. During the interwar period Oppenheimer moved between Zurich, Berlin, and Vienna. In 1937, because he was Jewish and homosexual, Oppenheimer began to be persecuted by the Nazis. In 1938, through Switzerland, he escaped to New York, where he lived until his death, in 1954. The Leopold Museum now dedicates a large-scale exhibition to Oppenheimer, the first on the artist in almost 80 years. —Elena Clavarino

Photo: © Belvedere, Vienna