He was born March 1, 1886 in Pöcklarn, Austria. He studied art in Vienna under another great Austrian artist, Gustav Klimt. Like many European artists he traveled and lived in different countries. He served in the Austrian cavalry during World War I and was seriously wounded in 1915. He settled in Dresden, Germany in 1917. His talents included writing as well as drawing and graphic arts. He fled to London in 1938, became a British citizen and lived there until 1952-53 when he founded a school in Salzburg. He and his wife lived in Villeneuve, Switzerland until he died on February 22, 1980. His wife established the Oskar Kokoscha Foundation at the Musée Jenisch in Vevey, Switzerland.