The gaze that still unsettles - Telegraph
One of the leading figures in Austrian Expressionism, Egon Schiele had a Four days after his marriage, Schiele was drafted into the army. Even today, a century after they were produced, Egon Schiele's drawings a particularly close relationship with his younger sister, Gertrude. Egon Schiele's portraits of his muse and love Wally Neuzil are among Research found that Neuzil had three younger sisters, and no fewer than 16 But in their artist-model relationship deepened – something most art.
Wally Neuzil: The secret life of Schiele’s muse
At one point they ran away to Trieste together, and on another occasion in their early teens their father had to break down the locked door of the room they were in to find out what they were up to.
Gerti was not just Schiele's first model but also his ideal of femininity - stick thin, fine featured and with an eternally pubescent body.Klimt / Schiele: Drawings from the Albertina, Vienna at the RA
One of the first pictures in the exhibition shows Gerti nude, her arms knotted across her chest to hide her breasts, her head turned away, her cheek and arms bright red as if a blush of shame were suffusing her entire upper body, but her genitals are uncovered and depicted in unnerving detail. It is a picture driven by his biological curiosity and it reeks simultaneously of desire and distaste - it epitomises his sexual confusion.
Egon Schiele: Obsession and Flesh | david eubank on art
The swirling Freudian mishmash of his home life intensified Schiele's desire to be a painter: He was accepted into the Vienna Academy at the age of 16 but three years there left few visible traces on his work. From the start he rejected the accepted Classical idea of beauty with its sense of volume and smooth lines. A far greater influence was the most celebrated Austrian painter of the day, Gustav Klimt, whose anti-naturalistic, decorative manner showed the possibilities of an alternative style.
Klimt nurtured him, buying his work and introducing him to his own patrons. He also advised Schiele, without success, to try to control "such excess of talent". Although Schiele idolised Klimt - seeing him, perhaps unsurprisingly, as a father substitute - the older man's work was essentially about the exploration of others, while Schiele was more interested in the exploration of self.
The exhibition includes a remarkable group of self-portraits from showing him fully or partly clothed, naked or masturbating. They are totally unsparing, his facial expression is either startled or contorted - never in repose - his body twisted and emaciated. The flesh tones range from pinks and oranges to greens and browns. For all the dangers of cod psychologising it is impossible not to read these images as expressions of his mental state. He may by then have been sleeping with his female models but here is a man tormented by his own physicality and sexuality rather than fulfilled by them.
At the same time as he was looking so unwaveringly at himself he was looking at others too, especially children from the streets around his studio. The results were equally uncomfortable. There is no evidence that Schiele was himself a paedophile but an atmosphere of pornography pervades many of these drawings and some may have been done for collectors of erotica. The practice was to get him into trouble; in he was arrested, some drawings were seized and he was imprisoned for 24 days on the charge of exhibiting pornographic drawings in a place accessible to children.
Schiele's response was to play the martyr to art: The experience of jail, and of the judge publicly burning one of his drawings as he sentenced him, left him badly shaken, perhaps as much by the realisation that he couldn't ignore convention with impunity as by the privations of prison itself. The loss of his father profoundly affected Schiele at his young age and would continue to affect him for the rest of his life.
Why do I paint graves and many similar things? He was left as the only male in the household without a male figure to look up to. His portraits, too, exemplified a very barren personality at this stage. The images are very much about the clothes and formal aspects of drawing and not necessarily about his personality.
This is seen in his "Self Portrait with Palette" done in following the death of his father. The piece while emphasizing his role as an artist - with the depiction of the palette and artist-like clothing - also shows him in mourning. There is little expression on his face.
BBC - Culture - Wally Neuzil: The secret life of Schiele’s muse
His later self portraits are radically different from this self portraits from his childhood; they become about expression and self-discovery. She very much discouraged Schiele from the arts instead hoping he become involved in the railway industry. While he was in prison, he produced a series of self-portrait drawings, inscribed with self-pitying phrases: It is to murder germinating life. In he was invited to show at the Sonderbund exhibition in Cologne, and he was also taken on by the important dealer Hans Goltz of Munich.
Their relationship was a constant struggle over money, Schiele always wanting the highest possible prices for his work. Meanwhile he was writing boastfully to his mother, in March 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. The year marked a turning-point in Schiele's life. Some time in the previous year he had met two middleclass girls who lived opposite his studio. Schiele was attracted to both of them, but eventually fixed his sights on Edith; by April he was engaged to her, and Wally Neuzil was rather cold-bloodedly dismissed.
He handed her a letter in which he proposed that, despite their parting, they take a holiday together every summer - without Edith. Not surprisingly, Wally refused. She joined the Red Cross as a nurse and died of scarlet fever in a military hospital near Split in Dalmatia just before Christmas Schiele and Edith were married, despite her family's opposition, in June Schiele's mother was not present.
Compared with the majority of his contemporaries, he had an easy war. He was transferred to a detachment transporting Russian prisoners-of-war to and from Vienna, and later became a clerk in a prison camp for Russian officers in Lower Austria. Finally, in Januaryhe was moved to Vienna itself to work for the 'Imperial and Royal Commission for the Army in the Field' - a depot which supplied food, drink, tobacco and other comforts to the Austrian army.
In a country where food was increasingly short, it was a privileged place to be. In he was invited to be a major participant in the Sezession's 49th exhibition. For this he produced a poster design strongly reminiscent of the Last Supper, with his own portrait in the place of Christ. Despite the war, the show was a triumph. Prices for Schiele's drawing trebled, and he was offered many portrait commissions. He and Edith moved to a new and grander house and studio.
Their pleasure in it was brief.
On 19 October Edith, who was pregnant, fell ill with Spanish influenza, then sweeping Europe. On 28 October she died.