Egon Schiele

“No doubt influenced by Klimt, much of Schiele’s art focused on the eroticised, female form. But over time Schiele would distance himself from his mentor’s ornate, shimmering Art Nouveau-inspired aesthetic. The Expressionist style Schiele developed was stark, raw and deeply emotional, and executed in a sombre palette. Inspired in part by Schiele’s harrowing experience of watching his father’s decline, this shift also reflected his deep interest in human psychology and the powerful influence of Sigmund Freud in turn-of-the-century Vienna…By the early 1910s, Schiele’s work had become an obsessive exploration of the human body. He never shied away from candidly depicting genitalia — female genitalia as well as his own — or from treating subjects that were taboo for the time, such as masturbation or sex between women. These pictures, however, go far beyond conventional eroticism. Schiele’s nakedness is starved, desperate, mortal, and stripped of all societal and artistic convention…in April 1912, Schiele was arrested on charges of ‘offences against public morality’ and ‘seduction’ of one of his underage models. Although that charge was ultimately dropped, he spent 24 days in prison, condemned for the indecency of his work. It was a public vilification that belied Schiele’s commercial and critical success: throughout his career, museums and collectors from across Europe would continue to buy his work…On 28 October 1918, Schiele’s wife Edith, then six months pregnant, contracted flu and died. Just a few days later, on 31 October, Schiele himself passed away. He was 28 years old.”


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