Happy birthday Egon Schiele!

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Egon Schiele (June 12, 1890 – October 31, 1918) was an Austrian expressionist painter. He particularly remembered for his portraits. Much of his work was sexually explicit and dealt with themes such as death and rebirth.

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Self portrait, 1906

Schiele was born in Tulln, Austria to Adolph and Marie Schiele. He was considered a strange child because of his shyness. In his preteens and early teen years, it is said that he developed an incestuous affection for his younger sister.

Schiele's father died of syphilis when he was fifteen and he went to live with his uncle. In 1906, he went to study at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Vienna where he studied under Christian Griepenkerl, a conservative painter. Schiele felt stifled by Griepenkerl and left the school after three years.

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Self portrait, 1912

In 1907, Schiele sought out Gustav Klimt took him on as his mentee. He helped the young artist by buying his work, exchanging Schiele's work for his own, and arranging for patrons and models. Klimt also helped Schiele get involved at the Secessionist art work shop Wiener Werkstätte. He had his first showing there in 1908, called Klosterneuburg. Schiele proceeded to show his work throughout Europe, all the while becoming more and more sexually explicit.

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Green Stockings

 

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Seated female nude with elbows propped, 1914.

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Lovers, Self portrait with Wally, c. 1914

In 1911, he met seventeen-year-old Walburga (Wally) Neuzil. She became one of his models and the two lived in Neulengbach, 35 kilometers outside Vienna. Schiele became increasingly controversial in the town, particularly when he was arrested for seducing a young girl below the age of consent.

While in a relationship with Wally, Schiele learned of two sisters living nearby and chose to marry one, Edith Harms. Despite these plans, Schiele expected to maintain his relationship with Wally, but when he told her this, she left him immediately, never to see him again. Just three days after his wedding to Edith, he was called to report for duty in World War I.

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Friendship, 1913

After serving in Prague and later in Mühling, he returned to Vienna in 1917 to focus on his career. He continued to show his work Secessionist exhibitions.

In 1918, the Spanish flu plagued Europe.. On October 28th, Edith died of the illness and Schiele, himself, died just three days later.

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Death and the Maiden, 1915

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Dying Edith, 1918- Schiele's last drawing

Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Thursday, 12 June 2014
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