Sunday, February 28, 2016

Egon Schiele - by Wen Ou

Seated female nude with elbows propped, 1914.

This is the first Egon Schiele drawing I have seen. I was in high school looking around at the art area in a bookstore. I opened a collection of paintings, and was astounded by this one. I was astounded by the realistic curve of the body, and the eyes, which seems to be filled with emptiness, yet also filled with story.

Somehow I let it slide, without writing down the name of the artist or the drawing. The next time I encounter this drawing is in college, this time, I got the name of the artist - Egon Schiele.

The drawing above is a typical work of Schiele: he paints nudes in a realistic and grotesque way. Many of his works are related to sex. Indeed, he does not avoid the topic. He has been driven out of his mother's hometown for hire a teenage girl as model, and was imprisoned for seducing an underaged girl. Below is his paint for prison cell.

Schiele's drawing of his prison cell in Neulengbach, 1912

He never tried to paint things in a beautiful way. The most pleasing work seems to be his self-portrait. In his early self-portraits, he appears as a cute boy and a fine young man,  while later he draw himself the way he draw others and show people what the old man really looks like.

Schiele aged 16, self-portrait from 1906

He also paints flowers, even sunflowers. But unlike Van Gogh's sunflower wilted, as heavy and real as his other paints. This might because he has a miserable childhood, since his father died when Egon was 15. But his childhood is not worse than other artist, so the force may simply comes from personality instead of experience.

                                                                                    Sunflower II, 1910

[1] Egon Schiele, the complete works,

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