An Australian Expressionist painter, Egon Leo Adolf Ludwig Schiele, was born on June 12, 1890, in the provincial town of Tulln. The third child of the stationmaster of the Royal Imperial state railway, Egon had two elder sisters, Elvira and Melanie, and the youngest sister Gertrude. Egon’s father was quietly suffering from syphilis, and his elder sister died, possibly of the disease.
His painting intentions and talent affected his studies, so his father sent him to start secondary education in the fall of 1902 at the school in Kerms. Schiele used to be an odd child, and the teachers instantly complained that Egon’s artwork was interfering with their lessons. His educational results were poor, but his art tutor, Ludwig Karl, quickly recognized and supported his creative potential.
In 1904, when he was 14, his father died. At that time, he was focused entirely on his art and ignored what his family wanted. When he was told to quit high school in 1906, he went to the famous Vienna Academy of Fine Arts instead. Soon after Klimt invited him to the “Kunstschau” in 1909, Schiele and his classmates wrote a formal letter of complaint to the Academy, which led to their expulsion. Schiele’s group, the Neukunstgruppe (German for “new art group”), had its first show later that fall at the Kunstsalon Pisko.
Schiele died when the Spanish flu epidemic, which killed more than 20 million people in Europe, spread to Vienna in the fall of 1918. At the time, he was 28.
Egon Schiele’s Time in War
In 1915, Egon started considering marrying Edith Harms, a 17-year-old girl from a middle-class family in Vienna. And on June 17, 1915, they got married. Schiele refused to join up to fight in World War I for almost a year, but three days after his wedding, he was sent to the army to do his mandatory military service. Edith talked to him in Prague, where he was stationed, and sometimes they could see each other.
Even though he was in the army and had to guard and move Russian prisoners, Schiele kept painting and showing his work. He did shows in Zurich, Dresden, and Prague. Later, due to a heart condition, Schiele was forced to work as a clerk in a prisoner-of-war camp, where he painted imprisoned Russian soldiers. Egon Schiele’s art contains some of the greatest works of art of his life during World War I.
Below are some of Egon Schiele’s paintings he painted during wartime. These paintings portray all about Egon Schiele’s art and his artistic abilities.
Death and the Maiden
In this artwork, one of Schiele’s most complicated and unpredictable works, the haggard and ragged female body grips the man figure of death, surrounded by a similarly tattered, quasi-surreal background. In this artwork, as in others, Schiele combines the personal and the symbolic depiction by returning to the medieval theme of the Dance of Death, which peaked in 15th-century German art.
Death and the Maiden depicted Egon Schiele’s life story. She was painted just a few months after Schiele divorced his longtime lover, Wally Neuzil, and a few months before he married his new companion, Edith Harms.
The painting is a reminder of how his relationship with Neuzil ended, which seems to be the end of real love. Surprisingly, the technique of Schiele’s figures is nearly consumed by their clothes, and the abstracted atmosphere recalls Klimt’s portraiture, who likewise placed his models inside indecipherable surroundings.
The Old Mill was most likely painted four days after Egon Schiele’s marriage amid his life story of military conscription. Schiele drew various landscapes and cityscapes after becoming interested during his wartime travels, and these lacked the exaggerated contours that distinguished his prior works.
Egon Schiele despised war. His 1916 journal entries reveal an artist laboriously finishing his service at the POW camp Mühling. Schiele’s dream of the “United Europe” reveals his passionate desire for unity and harmony in the future. Schiele would spend his spare time outside, creating, painting, and taking notes.
The “Decaying Mill” is Egon Schiele’s art core influence from this time and one of his most appealing works regarding Egon Schiele’s art. This painting, which displays antiquity, and a damaged mountain mill, was regarded by him as his “perhaps most stunning art scenery.” This artwork, beginning on June 1, 1916, and once owned by film director legend Fritz Lang, is today the most expensive transportable object in the state of Lower Austria.
Town Among Greenery (The Old City III)
Although most of Egon Schiele’s paintings centered on the adult form, the landscapes and towns enthralled Schiele, who traveled widely around Europe throughout his career. In fact, Egon Schiele’s paintings of country life and his hometown Vienna make up a significant section of his artwork. This painting was partly inspired by his mother’s birthplace of Krumau, where he temporarily resided in 1911.
Although devoid of humanity, Schiele’s landscapes reveal intriguing parallels to his figural work. In fact, using a bird’s-eye perspective in his landscapes recalls one of his most daring portrait approaches, which depicted his figures from above.
This painting also exemplifies other features of Schiele’s style, most notably his use of sharply outlined forms. Moreover, the use and range of color distinguish this painting from Schiele’s other portrait works.
Something changed in Schiele’s art after he married Edith. While his work frequently remained sexual, particularly with female figures, his figures attained actual bulkiness in a way that his previous work had not. In addition, the artist regularly portrayed lovers, most likely himself and his lady, depicting women as mature and strong and men as foolish, sexual creatures.
Rather than focusing on his personal pain and loss, as he did in Death and the Maiden, Schiele directs his attention more selflessly to those who have died. This is not the frantic dismay of unrequited love. Instead, it is a tribute to the lady Schiele adored and died with.
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