BBC Music Magazine
After Mahler’s death, the Expressionist artist Oskar Kokoschka had a four-year affair with Alma (pictured together in the portrait above by Kokoschka). He was so traumatised by their break up that he volunteered for the Austrian army, and suffered brain damage while on the Eastern front. In 1918 he commissioned Hermine Moos to make a full-sized life-like doll of Alma, constructed to his detailed specifications. The result, with its swanskin exterior and horsehair details, he dressed in custom-made underwear and clothing. He is said to have taken it to cafés and the opera, and he made several portraits of it. He finally decapitated it during a wild party.