Egon Schiele – Expressionism Set Ajar

Egon Leo Adolf Schiele, or Egon Schiele was one of the most audacious Austrian painters of the early 20th century. He was born on June 12, 1890 in Tulln, Austria, to Adolf (a railway stationmaster) and his Bohemian wife, Marie. Egon Schiele’s school art teacher, K.L Strauch, recognized and encouraged his artistic interest. His father’s death from syphilis in 1905 had a severe psychological blow to Egon’s mental and psychic development. His laxity towards his academics and his growing interest in art made the artist’s uncle-cum-guardian, Leopold Czihaczec, enroll Egon at Kuntgewerbeschule (the School of Arts and Crafts), Vienna. In 1906, the artist shifted to a more conventional and established Akademie Der Bildenden Kunste in Vienna.

Egon Schiele was an ardent admirer of Gustav Klimt and studied under his guidance in 1907. Klimt’s decorative modishness highly influenced the linearity and the refinement of Egon’s work. He also introduced the artist to Wiener Werkst├Ątte, the arts and crafts workshop, connected with the Secession. In 1908, Schiele held his first exhibition at Klosterneuburg. Distraught and unhappy by its conservatism, the painter left his academy in 1909, and set up a novel art group called, the Nenkunstgrupp. Upon the invitation of Gustav, the same year, for Vienna Kunstschau, Egon Schiele observed the works of Edvard Munch, Jan Toorop, and Vincent van Gogh. He turned to the figurative style of painting, while exploring the human sexual angle too.

Renowned later for the intensity of erotic and sensuous elements in his paintings, Schiele invented a unique genre for himself. His illustrious self-portraits, contoured with abnormal and loud bodylines were typical of the artist in the era of ‘Expressionism.’ Always criticized by his critics and the society for his use of nudity in his work, which were categorically ‘Realistic’ in style, Schiele had to bear ridicule and resentment throughout his short lifetime. His approach to nudity portrayed him as an abandoned soul, haunted, rather than being content, by sexuality. Many condemned and disliked his display of pornographic and grotesque images, reflecting death and sex. His art works were also themed around landscapes and still life.

In 1911, Egon and Valerie Neuzil, or Wally, met each other. They had a live-in relationship in Vienna, and Wally modeled for several of the artist’s paintings. They then shifted to

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