The Legend of the Artist: Oskar Kokoschka and Alfred Kubin as Autobiographers
Sprache des Vortragstitels:
Inter-Texts: Correspondences, Connections, and Fissures in Austrian Culture. Annual Conference of the Austrian Studies Association
Sprache des Tagungstitel:
In 1934 the Viennese social scientists Ernst Kris and Otto Kurz (both corresponding with Wiener Schule and Wiener Psychoanalytische Vereinigung) published ?Die Legende vom Künstler?. In this book the authors describe so called ?biographic formulae? determining artist´s biographies since 16th century, when Giorgio Vasari featured his famous ?Lives of artists?. Since then stereotypes, anecdotes, images, and myths about artists didn´t change too much, quite the contrary, the rise of concepts of genius in 19th century resulted in a new cult of the artist. Writing an autobiography is one of various textual and visual means that modern artists could use to build up a legendary image.
In my paper I examine the use of ?biographic formulae? in the autobiographies of two Austrian artists, Alfred Kubin (1877-1959) and Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980). Kubin published his autobiography ?Aus meinem Leben? in various parts, starting 1911 at the age of 35; Kokoschka wrote his autobiography ?Mein Leben? (1972) in the last decade of his life. It is certainly not coincidental that Kubin entitled his autobiography ?Aus mein Leben? ? Johann Wolfgang Goethe´s autobiography with the same title was the most important reference biography for german speaking autobiographers until 20th century. This and many more intertexts between the analyzed autobiographies and various discourses of early 20th century will be examined as well as the long lasting significance of the autobiographies of Kubin and Kokoschka for their image in Austrian culture until nowadays.