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Third Fan for Alma Mahler

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Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980)1913ViennaQuill in black ink with watercolour on un-tanned goats leather, mounted on ebonyH: 21,5 cm; W: 40 cm

In 1912, Oskar Kokoschka met Alma Mahler (1879-1964), the musician Gustav Mahler’s (1860-1911) widow. Mahler was among the most illustrious figures of her time. An intense love affair unfolded between Mahler and the much younger artist, Kokoschka. The six fans Kokoschka presented to her, now a part of the Museum’s collection, is a testment of their love affair. This fan depicts the embracing lovers at the foot of Mount Vesuvius. The scenes on the panels to the left and to the right are also mementos of the couple’s trip to Italy. When the affair ended in 1915, Kokoschka was deeply hurt. Alma Mahler later married the architect Walter Gropius (1883-1969), and after their separation and subsequent divorce she wed the poet Franz Werfel (1890-1945).