IN Vienna before World War I, the maddest celebrity in town was Oskar Kokoschka. His morbid plays dramatizing strife between the sexes set off bitter café debates; his portraits turning the light on the psychological "inner life" of his subjects outraged complacent burghers. Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne (whose assassination at Sarajevo in 1914 triggered World War I), gave it as his opinion that "this fellow's bones ought to be broken in his body." After the war, which dealt Kokoschka a head wound and a bayoneting, the artist moved to the front rank of avant-garde painters. Hitler disagreed,...

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