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Egon Schiele Photo

Egon Schiele

Austrian Draftsman, Painter, and Printmaker

Movement: Expressionism

Born: June 12, 1890 - Tuln an de Donau, near Vienna, Austria

Died: October 31, 1918 - Vienna, Austria

Egon Schiele Timeline

Important Art by Egon Schiele

The below artworks are the most important by Egon Schiele - that both overview the major creative periods, and highlight the greatest achievements by the artist.

Portrait of Gerti Schiele (1909)

Portrait of Gerti Schiele (1909)

Artwork description & Analysis: This is one of Schiele's many portraits of his younger sister, Gerti, the artist's favorite model during his early career and the member of his family with whom he was the closest. Painted when Gerti was a teenager, this early portrait demonstrates both the strong stylistic link between Schiele's work and that of Klimt, as well as the shift away from the style of his mentor. In her pose and adornment composed from a series of flat patches with gold and silver accents, Gerti's figure is reminiscent of Klimt's works such as Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer (1907). But unlike the Klimtian predecessor, the image is not so much decorative as static and soft, as if Schiele were casting his sitter in clay. In addition, Schiele replaced Klimt's richly shimmering, gold-dominated palette with more muted colors, creating an image that appears dried-out, suggestive of decay rather than growth.

Oil, silver, gold-bronze paint, and pencil on canvas - The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Self-Portrait (1910)

Self-Portrait (1910)

Artwork description & Analysis: Schiele's self-portraits are extraordinary not only for the frequency with which the artist depicted himself, but for the manner in which he did so: eroticized depictions where he often appears in the nude, in highly revealing poses—male self-portraits virtually unparalleled in the history of Western art. In this drawing, the artist has created an intense and almost frightening vision of himself: emaciated, with glowing red eyes, legs deformed and footless, his body fully exposed, yet with his face partially hidden, perhaps suggesting a sense of shame, and in a twisting pose indebted, as many writers have suggested, to the important influence of modern dance. Characteristic of the Expressionist mode that Schiele was increasingly practicing at this time, he expresses his anxiety through line and contour, and flesh that appears abraded and subjected to harsh elements.

Black chalk, watercolor and gouache on paper - Leopold Museum, Vienna

Self-Portrait with Chinese Lantern Plant (1912)

Self-Portrait with Chinese Lantern Plant (1912)

Artwork description & Analysis: This is perhaps Schiele's most celebrated self-portrait, and certainly the most storied. In this work, painted during a time in which he was participating in numerous exhibitions, Schiele gazes directly at the viewer, his expression suggesting a confidence in his artistic gifts. Although Schiele deploys less distortion than in other self-portraits, the painting refuses to idealize its subject, featuring scars and other lines characteristic of the contoured manner of the artist's drawing style.

Exhibited in Munich in 1912 alongside work by a number of other Expressionist artists, the painting has a companion portrait depicting his lover at the time, Wally Neuzil (the Wally portrait was stolen by the Nazis from the home of a Jewish Austrian, only to be returned to Vienna in 2010 following a prolonged, twelve-year legal battle). It now serves as a "poster child" for the Leopold Museum in Vienna, which houses the largest Schiele collection in the world.

Oil on canvas - Leopold Museum, Vienna

Hermits (1912)

Hermits (1912)

Artwork description & Analysis: This rare double portrait, among the most allegorical works in Schiele's oeuvre, shows Schiele and Klimt standing together, nearly as one. As close as the two men were, and for all their similarities, Schiele spent much of his career seeking to break free of Klimt's influence. In Hermits, both men wear their signature long black caftans, an item of clothing for which Klimt was known, and which Schiele appropriated for his own work, perhaps in tribute. Never one for modesty, Schiele positions Klimt in the background, blind and mostly hidden, as if being consumed by the younger artist. The resulting form evokes the image of a single dark figure, indicating the confident successor Schiele assuming the mantel of the old master. The hermit motif also evokes Schiele's existential conception of the artist as a figure existing at the margins of society.

Oil on canvas - The Leopold Museum, Vienna

Death and the Maiden (1914–15)

Death and the Maiden (1914–15)

Artwork description & Analysis: In this painting, one of Schiele's most complex and haunting works, the female figure, gaunt and tattered, clings to the male figure of death, while surrounded by an equally tattered, quasi-surreal landscape. As elsewhere in his work, in this composition Schiele combines the personal and the allegorical—in this case by turning to a theme deriving from the medieval concept of the Dance of Death that reached its height in fifteenth-century German art. Death and the Maiden was painted around the time Schiele separated from his longtime lover, Wally Neuzil, and several months before he married his new lover, Edith Harms. The painting memorializes the end of his affair with Neuzil, seemingly conveying this separation as the death of true love. Interestingly enough, the manner in which Schiele's figures are nearly consumed by their clothing and abstracted surroundings suggests the portraiture of Klimt, who likewise placed his subjects within indecipherable environments.

Oil on canvas - Osterreichische Galerie, Belvedere, Austria

Town among Greenery (The Old City III) (1917)

Town among Greenery (The Old City III) (1917)

Artwork description & Analysis: Although his art centered on the human figure, Schiele—who had occasion to travel throughout Europe during his career—was also drawn to the land and cities. In fact, the artist's paintings of the countryside and his native Vienna comprise a significant portion of his work. This painting was inspired in part by his mother's hometown, Krumau, where he lived briefly in 1911. Schiele's landscapes—although often devoid of people—contain fascinating parallels with his figural work. His frequent use of a bird's-eye perspective in his landscapes calls to mind one of the most radical elements of his portraiture: his tendency to depict his sitters from above. This canvas contains other characteristic elements of Schiele's idiom as well, most notably, his use of boldly outlined and sharp contours. What causes this work to stand apart from his portrait work is the artist's use of and range of color, something for which Schiele was not known.

Oil on canvas - The Neue Galerie, New York



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Egon Schiele Photo

Related Art and Artists

Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear (1889)

Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear (1889)

Artist: Vincent van Gogh

Artwork description & Analysis: After cutting off a portion of his right earlobe during a manic episode while in Arles, Van Gogh painted Self Portrait with a Bandaged Ear while recuperating and reflecting on his illness. He believed that the act of painting would help restore balance to his life, demonstrating the important role that artistic creation held for him. The painting bears witness to the artist's renewed strength and control in his art, as the composition is rendered with uncharacteristic realism, where all his facial features are clearly modeled and careful attention is given to contrasting textures of skin, cloth, and wood. The artist depicts himself in front of an easel with a canvas that is largely blank and a Japanese print hung on the wall. The loose and expressive brushstrokes typical of Van Gogh are clearly visible; the marks are both choppy and sinuous, at times becoming soft and diffuse, creating a tension between boundaries that are otherwise clearly marked. The strong outlines of his coat and hat mimic the linear quality of the Japanese print behind the artist. At the same time, Van Gogh deployed the technique of impasto, or the continual layering of wet paint, to develop a richly textured surface, which furthers the depth and emotive force of the canvas. This self-portrait, one of many Van Gogh created during his career, has an intensity unparalleled in its time, which is elucidated in the frank manner in which the artist portrays his self-inflicted wound as well as the evocative way he renders the scene. By combining influences as diverse as the loose brushwork of the Impressionists and the strong outlines from Japanese woodblock printing, Van Gogh arrived at a truly unique mode of expression in his paintings.

Oil on canvas - Courtauld Institute Galleries, London

Puberty (1894-95)

Puberty (1894-95)

Artist: Edvard Munch

Artwork description & Analysis: Agony, anxiety and loss are constant themes throughout Munch's oeuvre, yet perhaps nowhere do they come together as powerfully as in Munch's Puberty, a portrait of adolescence and isolation. The lone and guarded female figure symbolizes a state of sexual depression and frustration - both of which plagued the artist himself throughout his life while the girl, although apparently shy (to judge by her posture), indicates quite the opposite by way of her frank stare. The looming shadow behind the figure hints at the birth of an ominous and sentient creature, perhaps one haunting her room, if indeed it is not her own dawning persona. The aesthetic qualities of Post-Impressionism are still very much present in Munch's work at this time, but what sets his work apart is the powerful element of symbolism. Munch is painting not necessarily what he sees, but what he feels in front of him. Munch usually painted, in fact, from imagination rather than from life, but here the uncharacteristic detailing of the girl's body - in particular the collar bone is considered by many evidence that, at least in this instance, Munch resorted to the use of a live model.

Oil on canvas - National Gallery, Oslo

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Content compiled and written by Justin Wolf

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Justin Wolf
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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