Egon Schiele – handpainted Reproductions
“To restrict the artist is a crime. It is to murder germinating life” – Egon Schiele
Egon Schiele (1890-1918)
Egon Schiele was a protégée of Gustav Klimt, and a well known Austrian figurative painter of his time. His paintings are famous for their potent passion and blatant sexuality. He even produced a number of famous nude self-portraits. The twisted body shapes and raw forms depict the early findings of Expressionism in his paintings.
Egon Schiele was born in Austria to a middle-class family. His father, Adolf Schiele was a station master.
Egon was deeply fascinated with trains ever since he was a child and sketched quite a number of moving trains. In fact, his fascination bordered on obsession, so much so that his father had to tear off most of his sketches.
When Schiele was 11 the family moved to Krems. Those who knew Schiele as a child often thought him to have a strange disposition. He was shy and introverted and didn’t fare so well in school except in Drawing and Aesthetics. It is said that he displayed signs of an incestuous inclination towards his younger sister Gertrude.
When Schiele was 15 his father died of syphilis. He became a ward of his uncle, who too was a station master. Deeply disappointed by Schiele’s lack of academic inclination his uncle grudgingly allowed Schiele an art teacher; Ludwig Karl Strauch.
In 1906, Schiele enrolled in the school of Arts and crafts Vienna, where Gustav Klimt once studied. His talent soon made his teachers realize that he was destined for bigger things and he was sent to Akademie der Bildenden Kunste. However, Schiele became disenchanted with his teacher and left the school after 3 years.
Meeting with Gustav Klimt
In 1907, Schiele became a protégée to Gustav Klimt, who took an interest in the young artists of his time, encouraging them to exhibit their works. Now that Schiele was free from the constraints of art school he began to experiment with not only the human form but human sexuality as well. He soon became acquainted with the work of Vincent Van Gogh and Jan Toorop.
Scandal and Success
From that time onwards, Schiele participated in quite a number of exhibitions held by the Vienna Secession. 1911 was the year when Schiele met seventeen-year-old Walburga (Wally) who became his muse and was depicted in several of his paintings. He and Wally fled from Vienna to live in Krumau but were driven away by the people who did not approve of them living together without being married.
They then fled to Neulengbach and rented an inexpensive studio. However their lifestyle soon attracted deviant children of the town. This led to quite a number of scandals, it is said that Schiele even seduced an underage girl. The police ransacked his studio and discovered paintings which were deemed pornographic. He was sentenced to 21 days in jail. Here he created some 12 paintings which showed the difficulties of being locked up in jail.
In 1913, the Galeria Hans Goltz exhibited Schiele’s first ever solo exhibition. In 1914, his relationship with Wally ended when he chose to get married to a local town’s girl named Edith. He held several successful exhibitions in Prague, Zurich and Dresden.
However, he was soon requited by the military and due to his weak heart and due to his beautiful handwriting was given the position of Army Clerk.
It was here that he painted some of his masterpieces depicting the Russian prisoners and fellow officers. His painting seemed to have evolved and showed signs of an artist’s maturity. Due to his failing health, Schiele was sent back to Vienna. He even participated in the Secessions 49th exhibition. His paintings were much appreciated and he was commissioned to work on several projects.
His success was however curbed by his untimely death in 1918 due to the Spanish influenza. His wife succumbed to death three days before him, during this time he painted few of his last sketches depicting his wife.