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Egon Schiele – Austrian Expressionist


Egon Schiele  – Austrian Expressionist perfectly fits the popular stereotype of the rebellious bohemian artist. Physically, He was thin, with an angular face. Morally, he was rumored to have an incestous relationship with his sister.  Perhaps confirmed by the fact that the vast majority of his models were  very young girls.

The tormented style for which Egon Schiele is noted is understandable when you realize that he suffered from a persecution complex. Plus he was narcisstic to a considerable degree. As evidenced by his many self-portraits. The height of this hubis was manifested in one work where he portrayed himself as Saint Sebastian! Surpassed only by another painting where  he appeared as Jesus himself!

While some Art Historians use the word “protegé” to describe his relationship with the older and more established artists Gustav Kilmt, in truth the relationship was more one of encouragement and assistance. The older artist offering advice, buying a painting or two, and sending models to the younger.

The Art of Egon Schiele then, is inseperable from, and a direct consequence of the Man himself.

New York’s NeueGalerie has the rest of the Schiele Story:

“In the autumn of 1906, Schiele enrolled at Vienna’s Akademie der bildenden Künste (Academy of Fine Arts) under Professor Christian Griepenkerl. Schiele met Gustav Klimt in 1907 and Klimt became an important supporter and mentor to Schiele. In 1908, Schiele took part in his first public exhibition, a group show held at Klosterneuburg. The following year, he and some other students from the Academy left in a dispute over its conservative teaching methods to found the Neuekunstgruppe (New Art Group). Schiele participated in the Internationale Kunstschau Wien 1909 (International Art Exhibition Vienna 1909). In 1909 Schiele began to develop his own distinct Expressionist tendency and would abandon the decorative style associated with the Jugendstil by the end of the year. The Neuekunstgruppe had its first exhibition at the Kunstsalon Pisko in December 1909. Through this Schiele met the critic and writer Arthur Roessler, who introduced him to important collectors including Carl Reininghaus and Dr. Oskar Reichel.

In 1910, the Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshops) published three postcards designed by Schiele. The first monograph on Schiele’s work was published in 1911 and he had his first solo exhibition at Vienna’s Galerie Miethke. Schiele and his model Valerie (Wally) Neuzil moved to Krumau in 1911, his mother’s hometown together, although they lived separately. Krumau was an important theme in his work for many years. Although productive in Krumau, the townspeople objected to Schiele’s lifestyle and the fact that children visited the studio and posed for the artist in the nude. In August, Schiele moved to Neulengbach.

In 1912, Schiele exhibited work in various exhibitions but his most important contact that year was with the Munich art dealer Hans Goltz. At the Goltz gallery, Schiele displayed work alongside members of the Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider). During a trip to Munich, Schiele studied the work of contemporary artists, opening him to innovative trends such as Cubism.

Schiele was arrested on April 13, 1912 in Neulengbach and subsequently transferred to St. Pölten prison. He was accused of abducting and raping a minor, but ultimately only charged with offenses against morality. After spending twenty-four days in jail, he was released on May 8. Subsequently, children were rarely a subject in his work and the erotic element became less overt. At the end of this year, through an introduction by Klimt, Schiele stayed with the Lederer family at their estate in Györ, beginning an important relationship of both patronage and friendship, particularly with the son Erich Lederer.

Despite the outbreak of war, Schiele continued to exhibit widely throughout Europe in 1914, sending work to Rome, Brussels, and Paris. Also in 1914, the photographer Anton Joseph Trčka took a series of photographs of the artist, some of which Schiele personalized. At the end of the year, he was honored with a major exhibition in Vienna at the Galerie Guido Arnot.

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