Monday, January 9, 2012

Schiele, Egon

Gouache and pencil on paper
19 1/4 x 12 5/8 in. (48.8 x 32.2 cm)
Private collection

Egon Schiele (1890 - 1918)  was regarded by many of his contemporaries as the predestined successor to Gustav Klimt, but died before he could fulfil his promise. He was an Austrian painter and a major figurative painter of the early 20th century. Schiele's body of work is noted for the intensity and the large number of self-portraits he produced. The twisted body shapes and the expressive line that characterize his paintings and drawings make the artist an early exponent of Expressionism.
'All beautiful and noble qualities have been united in me ... I shall be the fruit which will leave eternal vitality behind even after its decay. How great must be your joy, therefore, to have given birth to me.' (Egon Schiele)

On 19 October 1918 Edith, his pregnant wife, fell ill with Spanish influenza, then sweeping Europe. On 28 October she died. Schiele, who seems never to have written her a real love-letter, and who in the midst of her illness wrote his mother a very cool letter to say that she would probably not survive, was devastated by the loss. Almost immediately he came down with the same sickness, and died on 31 October, three days after his wife.