artist

Egon Schiele

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Schiele’s erotic nudes have become synonymous with Vienna on the eve of the World War 1. He is primarily remembered for his daring experiments as a draughtsman, but his considerable output included paintings of both landscapes and portraits. Having initially studied at the highly conservative Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, he fell under the sway of Gustav Klimt and the art nouveau movement. However, he soon moved beyond his mentor - adopting a highly personal approach to line drawing that evoked intense angst though the use of jagged, distorted contours. Relations with an underage girl led to his arrest in April 1912 – but it was the explicit drawings recovered during the police raid that resulted in brief incarceration. Schiele’s skeletal, tortured subjects (often self-portraits) rendered in violently stylized line, appeared to speak to the nervous anxiety of his age (it was hardly coincidence that Vienna was also the city of Sigmund Freud). They represent Austrian Expressionism at its most visceral. Schiele’s triumphant showing at the Secessionist Exhibition of 1918 promised international success. However, both he (aged only 28) and his pregnant wife would die later that year during the Spanish Influenza epidemic. His tragic early death cemented his reputation as an enfant terrible of twentieth century art.

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Works (72)

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