Egon Schiele‘s illustrations and paintings are breathtaking, and it’s no wonder either, he was a protege of Gustav Klimt! A major figurative painter of the early 20th century, his work is noted for its intensity and its raw sexuality – even many of his self-portraits he produced included naked self-portraits. The twisted body shapes and the expressive line that characterize Schiele’s paintings and drawings mark the artist as an early exponent of Expressionism. Schiele was born in 1890 in Tulln, Lower Austria – shy and reserved, he did poorly at school except in athletics and drawing, and was usually in classes made up of younger pupils. He also displayed incestuous tendencies towards his younger sister Gertrude (who was known asGerti), and his father, well aware of Egon’s behaviour, was once forced to break down the door of a locked room that Egon and Gerti were in to see what they were doing (only to discover that they were developing a film). When he was sixteen he took the twelve-year-old Gerti by train to Trieste without permission and spent a night in a hotel room with her. In 1906 Schiele applied at the Kunstgewerbeschule (School of Arts and Crafts) inVienna, where Gustav Klimt had once studied. Within his first year there, Schiele was sent, at the insistence of several faculty members, to the more traditional Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Vienna in 1906. His main teacher at the academy was Christian Griepenkerl, a painter whose strict doctrine and ultra-conservative style frustrated and dissatisfied Schiele and his fellow students so much that he left three years later.
In 1907, Schiele sought out Gustav Klimt, who generously mentored younger artists. Klimt took a particular interest in the young Schiele, buying his drawings, offering to exchange them for some of his own, arranging models for him and introducing him to potential patrons. He also introduced Schiele to the Wiener Werkstätte, the arts and crafts workshop connected with the Secession. In 1908 Schiele had his first exhibition, in Klosterneuburg. Schiele left the Academy in 1909, after completing his third year, and founded the Neukunstgruppe (“New Art Group”) with other dissatisfied students.
Klimt invited Schiele to exhibit some of his work at the 1909 Vienna Kunstschau, where he encountered the work of Edvard Munch, Jan Toorop, and Vincent van Gogh among others. Once free of the constraints of the Academy’s conventions, Schiele began to explore not only the human form, but also human sexuality. At the time, many found the explicitness of his works disturbing.
In the autumn of 1918, the Spanish flu pandemic that claimed more than 20,000,000 lives in Europe reached Vienna. He died 3 days after his pregnant wife died in their home. During the three days between their deaths, Schiele drew a few sketches of Edith (his wife); these were his last works.
(story via Wikipedia)