The well-known Alma Mahler was married, one after the other, to composer Gustav Mahler, architect Walter Gropius (founder of the Bauhaus movement), and finally writer Franz Werfel. In the meantime, she was in a relationship with the famous painter Oskar Kokoschka.
Alma Mahler is one of the most successful women in history by the number of famous husbands. She was, in fact, married, one after the other, to composer Gustav Mahler, architect Walter Gropius (founder of the Bauhaus movement), and finally writer Franz Werfel.
She was born in Vienna in 1879 as Alma Schindler, in a wealthy family. She grew up in this city that experienced its golden age at the end of the 19th century. Namely, Vienna was one of the most important cultural capitals of the world at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. The renowned artistic styles of Art Nouveau and Modernism emerged from there. Famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud worked in Vienna, as did famous artists such as Gustav Klimt and Otto Wagner.
Alma married the famous composer and conductor Gustav Mahler when she was 22 years old, after she got pregnant with him. He was 19 years older than her. Alma was a composer herself, but upon entering into a marriage with Mahler, she fell into his shadow. She took the famous architect Walter Gropius for a lover, but later reconciled with her husband. However, Mahler died after only nine years of marriage.
Remaining a young widow (she was only 31 years old), Alma soon had a passionate affair with young painter Oskar Kokoschka (he was six years younger than her). Many of his paintings were inspired by her and, apparently, he loved her through his whole life, even though they broke up. Then she married her former lover – the mentioned Walter Gropius, one of the most famous architects in history. Already during that marriage, she began an affair with the writer Franz Werfel, who she married after her divorce from Gropius. Werfel was Jewish, Alma and he had to flee to the United States after the Nazis came to power.
On this day Alma Schindler-Mahler-Gropius-Werfel died in New York, in the high age of 85. She was buried in her native Vienna. Her diaries are an important source of knowledge about the lives of the artists whose wife and mistress she was.