Obelisk Art History
The Artists

Egon Schiele
Genius dead at 28

Egon Schiele, The ArtistsSelf Portrait with Lowered Head
Portrait of Egon Schiele

The Viennese Expressionist Egon Schiele had two urgent interests: himself and his sexual fantasies. Out of such limited preoccupations and by means of a preternatural gift for drawing and graphic design, he created artworks that still burn with narcissistic yearning, erotic desire, bohemian dissent and existential anxiety.

The brevity of Schiele’s life adds to the popular fantasy of the outlaw who lived fast and died young. His career lasted only about eight years, from around 1910, when at age 20 he suddenly found his own vision, until his sudden death by flu in the pandemic of 1918. He was not neglected during that time, however. As a student, one of his mentors was Gustav Klimt, the dean of Viennese Modernism, and as a young professional he was included in important group shows in Vienna and elsewhere in Europe. His drawings sold well to discerning collectors, and a solo show at the Vienna Secession just months before he died was a critical and financial success. Moreover, he was a dandy with a taste for well-made American shoes and a keen awareness of the cut of his silhouette, as photographs of him in the exhibition prove. So the myth of Schiele as a sacrificial outcast who died to rid the world of its moral hypocrisy does not tell the whole story.

Reed Enger, "Egon Schiele, Genius dead at 28," in Obelisk Art History, Published April 05, 2015; last modified August 18, 2022, http://arthistoryproject.com/artists/egon-schiele/.

nytimes.com

Egon Schiele was an Austrian Artist who Died Young born on June 12, 1890. Schiele contributed to the Expressionist movement and died on October 31, 1918.

Woman with Homunculus, Egon Schiele

Woman with Homunculus 1910

A Tree in Late Autumn, Egon Schiele

A Tree in Late Autumn 1911

Cardinal and Nun (Caress), Egon Schiele

Cardinal and Nun (Caress) 1912

Portrait of Wally Neuzil, Egon Schiele

Portrait of Wally Neuzil 1912

Self Portrait with Lowered Head, Egon Schiele

Self Portrait with Lowered Head 1912

Self-Portrait with Physalis, Egon Schiele

Self-Portrait with Physalis 1912

Wally in Red Blouse with Raised Knees, Egon Schiele

Wally in Red Blouse with Raised Knees 1913

Houses with Laundry (Seeburg), Egon Schiele

Houses with Laundry (Seeburg) 1914

Krumau on the Moldova, Egon Schiele

Krumau on the Moldova 1914

Lovers, Egon Schiele

Lovers 1914

Windows, Egon Schiele

Windows 1914

Portrait of Edith Schiele with Striped Dress, Sitting, Egon Schiele

Portrait of Edith Schiele with Striped Dress, Sitting 1915

Portrait of Edith, The Artist's Wife, Egon Schiele

Portrait of Edith, The Artist's Wife 1915

Lying Woman, Egon Schiele

Lying Woman 1917

The Embrace, Egon Schiele

The Embrace 1917

. . . this feeling of being at someone else's mercy weighs on me tremendously, and when such circumstances are prolonged I cannot find delight in art. . .

The Military is Antithetical to Art 1918

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Egon Schiele: Drawings and Watercolors, Recommended Reading

There are an absurd number of books covering the short life of Egon Schiele, but this unique volume focuses on his rarely seen drawings and watercolors, with 350 illustrations in color.

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