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Egon Schiele

Egon Schiele

*  1890 Tulln
† 1918 Wien

Egon Schiele was born on June 12, 1890 in the Lower Austrian town of Tulln. At first he attends the Vienna School of Applied Arts, but soon changes to the Vienna Academy, where he picks up the studies of art in the class of Christian Griepenkerl in 1906. The conservative academic teaching methods lead to conflicts between Schiele and his teacher. In 1907 he seeks to get in touch with Gustav Klimt and the Vienna Secession, the influence thereof can be observed in works originating from the following years. Egon Schiele leaves the academy in 1909 and founds, together with other artists, the "Neukunstgruppe" (New Art Group). He participates in the exhibition "Internationale Kunstschau Wien" (International Vienna Art Exhibition) with four works the same year. Soon after he is introduced to the art collectors Carl Reininghaus and Oskar Reichel by the art critic Arthur Roessler.
At the beginning he seeks orientation on the decorative forms of Art Nouveau, but finds his own style around 1910. He is a virtuous drawer. A somewhat bizarre and eccentric pose is what Schiele's figures have in common. Schiele makes erotic nudes in a radical subjectivity that often shows the body blurred or distorted. Undisguised nudity and pretended obscenity provoke the observer.
In 1911 Egon Schiele moves to Krumau. He makes numerous views of the town and the vineyards, but also nudes of ever younger models, which is why he is expelled by the people of the small town. He moves to Neulengbach, where similar pictures lead to the Neulengbach scandal. Schiele is accused of making and distributing immoral drawings, in addition, he is accused of having seduced minors. He is sentenced to three weeks prison in 1912. He makes numerous drawings in prison that express the state of being imprisoned.
A year later Egon Schiele is accepted into the "Bund österreichischer Künstler" (Federation of Austrian Artists) and shows works in several important exhibitions. Hans Pfemfert from Berlin, publisher of the magazine "Die Aktion" (The Action) repeatedly commissions him to do illustrations. In early 1914 the artist deals with etchings and woodcutting, however, he makes not more than a total of 17 etchings. Egon Schiele is also fascinated by photography. He makes a number of photographs on which the artist presents himself in the same eccentric manner as in his paintings and drawings.
He serves in World War I from 1915 to 1917. In 1918 Egon Schiele participates in the exhibition of the Vienna Secession, which means a major success for Schiele, as almost all of his 50 paintings and drawings are sold.
He dies of the Spanish flu in Vienna on October 31, 1918.