Schiele

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Egon Schiele’s work is so distinctive that it resists categorisation. Admitted to the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts at just sixteen, he was an extraordinarily precocious artist, whose consummate skill in the manipulation of line, above all, lent a taut expressivity to all his work. Profoundly convinced of his own significance as an artist, Schiele achieved more in his abruptly curtailed youth than many other artists achieved in a full lifetime. His roots were in the Jugendstil of the Viennese Secession movement. Like a whole generation, he came under the overwhelming influence of Vienna’s most charismatic and celebrated artist, Gustav Klimt. In turn, Klimt recognised Schiele’s outstanding talent and supported the young artist, who within just a couple of years, was already breaking away from his mentor’s decorative sensuality. Beginning with an intense period of creativity around 1910, Schiele embarked on an unflinching exposé of the human form – not the least his own – so penetrating that it is clear he was examining an anatomy more psychological, spiritual and emotional than physical. He painted many townscapes, landscapes, formal portraits and allegorical subjects, but it was his extremely candid works on paper, which are sometimes overtly erotic, together with his penchant for using under-age models that made Schiele vulnerable to censorious morality. In 1912, he was imprisoned on suspicion of a series of offences including kidnapping, rape and public immorality. The most serious charges (all but that of public immorality) were dropped, but Schiele spent around three despairing weeks in prison. Expressionist circles in Germany gave a lukewarm reception to Schiele’s work. His compatriot, Kokoschka, fared much better there. While he admired the Munich artists of Der Blaue Reiter, for example, they rebuffed him. Later, during the First World War, his work became better known and in 1916 he was featured in an issue of the left-wing, Berlin-based Expressionist magazine Die Aktion. Schiele was an acquired taste. From an early stage he was regarded as a genius. This won him the support of a small group of long-suffering collectors and admirers but, nonetheless, for several years of his life his finances were precarious. He was often in debt and sometimes he was forced to use cheap materials, painting on brown wrapping paper or cardboard instead of artists’ paper or canvas. It was only in 1918 that he enjoyed his first substantial public success in Vienna. Tragically, a short time later, he and his wife Edith were struck down by the massive influenza epidemic of 1918 that had just killed Klimt and millions of other victims, and they died within days of one another. Schiele was just twenty-eight years old.

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Published by
Published 15 March 2013
Reads 5
EAN13 9781781606032
Language English

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Cover: Stéphanie Angoh

ISBN 978-1-78160-603-2

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Egon
Schiele








TABLE OF CONTENT



SCHIELE’S CHILDHOOD
THE FAVORITE SISTER, GERTI
VIENNA AT THE TURN OF THE CENTURY
GUSTAV KLIMT, THE FATHER
SCHIELE’S MODELS
EXPRESSIVE ART PROCESS
ENCOUNTER WITH THE MIRRORED IMAGE
FIRST EXHIBITIONS
“NEW ARTISTS”
VIENNA ART SCENE
SCHIELE’S CLOSE CIRCLE OF FRIENDS
WALLY, THE FIRST LIFE’S COMPANION
SELF-PORTRAIT AS NUDE STUDY
SCHIELE, THE MAN OF PAIN
FASCINATION WITH DEATH
PHANTOM-LIKE CREATURES
BODY PERSPECTIVES
VAMPIRE-LIKE TRAIT OF THE SEX
DISGUST AND ALLURE
THE AGE OF THE PORNOGRAPHIC INDUSTRY
SCHIELE’S ARREST
INTERNATIONAL ARTIST
SCHIELE’S SKILLFUL SOCIAL MANEUVER
THE BOURGEOIS SCHIELE
SCHIELE, A CELEBRATED ARTIST
BIOGRAPHY
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
1. The Scornful Woman (Gertrude Schiele), 1910.
Gouache, watercolor and black crayon with
white highlighting, 45 x 31.4 cm. Private collectionIn 1964, Oskar Kokoschka evaluated the first great Schiele Exhibition in London as “pornographic”. In the
age of discovery of modern art and loss of “subject”, Schiele responded that for him there exists no
modernity, only the “eternal”. Schiele's world shrank into portraits of the body, locally and temporally
non-committal. Self-discovery becomes an unrelenting revelation of himself as well as of his models. The
German art encyclopedia, Thieme and Becker, qualifies Schiele as an eroticist because Schiele”s art
represents the erotic portrayal of the human body. In this case, however, it is for him not only a study of
feminine, but also male nudity. His models characterize an incredible freedom with respect to their own
sexuality, self-love, homosexuality or voyeuristic attitudes, as well as skillful seduction of the viewer.

Clichés and criteria with regard to feminine beauty, perfect smoothness and sculpture-like coolness,
however, do not interest him. He knows that the urge to look is interconnected with the mechanisms of
disgust and allure. It is the body which contains the power of sex and death within itself. The photograph,
Schiele on his Deathbed (p.8), depicts the twenty-eight year old nearly asleep, the gaunt body completely
emaciated, head resting on his bent arm; the similarity to his drawings is astounding.

Because of the high danger of infection, the last visitors were able to communicate with the Spanish
fluinfected Schiele only by way of a mirror, in which he viewed himself and his models, which was set up on
the threshold between his room and the parlor.

During the same year, 1918, Schiele had designed a mausoleum for himself and his wife. Did he know, he
who had so often distinguished himself as a person of sight, of his sudden end? Does individual fate fuse
collectively with the fall of an old system here, that of the Hapsburg Empire? Schiele”s productive life
scarcely extends beyond ten years, yet during this time he produced 334 oil paintings and 2,503 drawings
(Jane Kallir, New York. 1990).

He painted portraits and still-life-like land and townscapes; however, he became famous as a draftsman.
While Sigmund Freud exposes the repressed pleasure principles of upper-class Viennese society, which
puts its women into corsets and bulging gowns and grants them solely a role as future mothers, Schiele
bares his models. His nude studies penetrate brutally into the privacy of his models and finally confront
the viewer with his own sexuality.
2. Nude Girl with Folded Arms
(Gertrude Schiele), 1910.
Watercolor and black crayon,
48.8 x 28 cm. Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Vienna

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