(Austrian, June 12, 1890–October 31, 1918) was a major figure of Austrian Expressionism. Although his career was short, Schiele’s prolific work paved the way for Modernism. He is most known for Figurative works, self-portraits, and portraits that express a deeply personal and radical aesthetic.
Schiele began his artistic career at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste (Vienna Academy of Fine Art) in 1906, but he left the academy in 1909 to form Neukunstgruppe, the New Art Group, with fellow classmates who shared his contempt for the academy’s curriculum. It was during this time that he became acquainted with Gustav Klimt
(Austrian, 1862–1918), a future mentor and supporter of Schiele; Klimt helped Schiele participate in the Vienna Kunstschau of 1909. This international exhibition, along with Schiele’s subsequent showings, put the artist in contact with prominent dealers, critics, and patrons who would support his developing career. During this time, Schiele’s subjects began to become more expressive and exaggerated. In addition, his self-portraits
and portraits became tinged with psychological and sexual subtext.
Schiele’s subjects, frequently outlined and then filled in with ink or color
, were dynamic and tormented, often blatantly grotesque and erotic
. In 1911, the artist had his first solo show at Galerie Miethke in Vienna, Austria, and later exhibited at Galerie Hans Goltz in Munich, Germany. Schiele went on to set up a studio in Vienna in 1912. He was very productive during this period, exhibiting both nationally and internationally. One of his most significant exhibitions occurred in 1914 at the Galerie Guido Arnot in Vienna. After only a decade on the scene, Schiele succumbed to the Spanish flu, but not before the 1918 Viennese Secession, which prominently displayed over 50 works of art and brought him much success and acclaim. In 2011, Schiele’s 1914 painting Häuser mit bunter Wäsche (Vorstadt II)
brought in US$40 million at Sotheby’s, the largest sum paid for a work of art by the Austrian artist. Today the largest collections of his work can be seen at the Egon Schiele-Musuem in Tulln, the Leopold Museum in Vienna, and the Osterreichische Galerie Belvedere in Vienna.
Schiele died at the age of 28 on October 31, 1918.