Egon Schiele Biography | Oil Paintings
6-12-1890 Tulln, AUT – 10-31-1918 Vienna, AUTBack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Egon Schiele studied at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts in 1906 and the following year he met Gustave Klimt, whose Vienna Sezession movement he joined in 1908.
In 1907, Egon Schiele sought out Gustav Klimt. Klimt mentored younger artists, and he took a particular interest in the gifted young Schiele, buying his drawings, offering to exchange them for some of his own, arranging models for him and introducing him to potential patrons.
Egon Schiele's desperate, all-consuming eroticism and his almost morbid desire to cling to life, is one of the most dramatic episodes in early twentieth-century European art. Schiele's style, while like Klimt's, soon became the antithesis of the dazzling colors and sophisticated elegance of the Secession's leading exponent. Influenced by his friendship with Oskar Kokoschka and his links to international circles of Expressionism, Schiele revived motifs and elements from Gothic art, relying on a tense and incisive draftsmanship.
His relationship with his beloved Edith Harms began during the tortured war years. His young wife, in fact, became a recurring, almost obsessive, subject of the painters' erotic canvases, drawings, and watercolors. By 1918, Edith was succumbing to Spanish influenza, which thrust the conflict between life and death into the fore of Schiele's art. Edith, who was six months pregnant, succumbed to the disease. Three days after his wife's death, Schiele followed her into the same tomb, he was 28 years old.
Love and Death Intertwine in all of Schiele's Artwork.
Love and death intertwine in all of Schiele's artwork, but in 1915 this contrast acquired a terrible, personal, and tangible reality. Death and the Maiden, that year, the painter married his beloved Edith Harms, just before being drafted into the Imperial army, however, he was only assigned duties in the rearguard.
A disciple of Sigmund Freud, Egon Schiele sought to explore the deeper recesses of the human psyche, especially the sexual aspects. He developed a particularly stark style of Expressionism, distinguished by figures, often naked and usually emaciated, with harsh outlines, filling the canvas with contorted limbs and anguished features.
Long before the Nazis were denouncing his paintings as degenerate art, the Austrian authorities were confiscating and destroying his works. In 1912 he was actually arrested, convicted of offenses against public morals and imprisoned.
Schiele's eroticism expressed itself in unforgettable female figures, whose powerful sensuality was at times positively obscene. This work, Female Nude Lying on her Stomach, one of the most acclaimed in this genre, was painted during the only serene period in the painter's brief and tormented career. In 1917 when the war was drawing to a close, Schiele was among the founders of a vast interdisciplinary movement to revitalize the arts in Vienna.
After his marriage in 1915, his art mellowed, taking on a brighter and more sensuous form, and it is interesting to conjecture how this trend might have developed had he not died in the influenza pandemic of 1918.
Read the interesting story about Egon Schiele Self-Portrait With Black Clay Pot and the Star Trek Vulcan Hand Salute, taught to him by a little seventeen-year-old girl, in our THEN and NOW section of famous oil paintings.
Art Movement: Expressionism Art.
Artists Influencing Egon Schiele: Gustave Klimt, Strauch, Oscar Kokoschka.
He Traveled To Czech Republic.
Artist Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist.