Archive for October 31, 2012

Artist of the moment…Egon Schiele…

All works except the last one by Schiele. The last is by Gustav Klimt.

The artist was born in Tulln, Austria. His father was the head train station master. As a youngster Egon Schiele was OBSESSED with trains. Drawing and sketching them at all times to the point where his father started destroying some of his sketchbooks.


Growing up Schiele did poorly in school. He was mainly interested in sports and drawing!


When Schiele was fifteen years old, his father died from syphilis. His uncle was left to care for him. His uncle, also a railroad man, thought Schiele would like to follow in the family tradition. His uncle paid for a local tutor to work with his nephew.


When the artist was sixteen years old he applied to an arts and crafts school in Vienna. After seeing his work within the first year of his studies, the faculty convinced him to move to the better school that was better at promoting and teaching classical art, he enrolled at the Akadamie der Bildenden Kunste in Vienna. His main professor was Christian Griepenkerl, a famous professor known for his strict working methods and for not admitting Adolf Hitler to the Academy. Hitler applied in 1907 and 1908.

A clip showing twenty various works by the artist.

In this clip see some of Schiele’s landscape and urban paintings. No figures here,only landscapes. Some of which you may have seen already. He enjoyed using gold leaf in his works as well.

Schiele was a protege of another famous Austrian artist, Gustav Klimt.

Like many artists he made many self portraits. Unlike many artists, he sometimes posed naked for his work. The self portrait of the male nude in the gallery is one of these nude self portraits.


PRICE RANGE INFO:  Schiele worked in many mediums including charcoal, gouache, watercolor, pencil, chalk, drypoint, and crayon. His record for a gouache work is $2.48 million dollars. His record for an oil painting$40.1 million. Schiele also made a fair amount of bronzes that can be found betwen 3 and ten thousand dollars. Etchings and pencil works can easily reach six figures.



The strict teacher caused the artist to quit school after three years. He had already been taking lessons by Gustav Klimt found a perfect match. Klimt gave much neeeded encouragement, purchased some of the artists works, and on occassion would trade drawings with the artist. Once Schiele was free of the academy approach, he started producing works many considered graphic or explicit.



In 1911 he feel in love with a young girl named Wally. Wally, was a former model for Klimt. The two moved to a small city in Bohemia, but were driven out by town residents who disapproved of their lifestyle and Schiele’s penchant for using teenage girls as models. The couple moved back to Vienna, not quite in the capital. The deliquents of the town came to enjoy his company, and he was arrested for seducing an underage girl.



When the police came to arrest him, the  hit art gold! They considered some of his works porn, and confiscated more than 100 works. Schiele was taken to jail. In court one judge even burned a drawing in court. No rape or abduction charges were made, but he was given a short sentence for having erotic drawings in a place accesible to children. He made a few drawings of his life in jail.


In 1914 he fell in love with a different woman, the two were married in 1915. Three days later he was due to report to the army for World War I. He started off watching imprisoned russian officers and eventually came to run the food camp. He was still showing works in Germany.


1918 brought the artist a great show and acclaim. Unfortunately it also brought the Spanish flu. The flu killed around 20 million people that year. It first claimed his sixth month pregnant wife, then three days later claimed Egon Schiele. He was only twenty eight years old.


This artist always impressed me with his line work and plein air looking sketches of people in odd positions. Odd because limbs are foreshortened from difficult angles. He was very prolific. In 1980 a film was made called Egon Schiele Excess & Punishment about the artist’s life.


The artist is quite similar in style the his hand chosen mentor. Gustav Klimt. Klimt loved to experiment with new techniques and poses. A great landscape painter as well, here is my favorite landscape of Gustav Klimt, Forest of Birch Trees made in 1902.