Egon Schiele

Egon Schiele was an Austrian Expressionist painter who, despite his short life, had a major influence on Modernist figurative painting in the 20th century. Notorious during his time for his bold portrayals of human sexuality, he has remained a subject of fascination and controversy to this day. Unlike his friend and mentor Gustav Klimt, Schiele’s paintings and drawings are compositionally bare, focusing on a stylized representation of the human figure that features exaggerated musculature and a special focus given to the extremities: digits, hair, breasts, and genitalia are all rendered with particular care. Born in Tulln an der Donau, Austro-Hungarian Empire on June 12, 1890, Schiele’s personal life was tumultuous and marked with death and tragedy. After his father died from syphilis in 1905, Schiele moved to Vienna where he garnered contact with the prominent painters Edvard Munch and Vincent van Gogh. Exhibiting his own work by 1908, within the following decade the artist was imprisoned on pornography charges, accused of seducing a minor, drafted for military service in World War I, and married twice. He ultimately succumbed to the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, dying on October 31, 1918 at the age of 28.

Schiele’s legacy is incalculably influential, and his work can be found in important cultural collections like The Museum of Modern Art, The Neue Galerie, and the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere in Vienna.

[ & wikipedia]