Egon Schiele

Death and the Maiden, Oil on Canvas, 1915, 150.5 x 180cm, Austrian Gallery Belvedere

Art is death.
All the young dudes…

How many have we seen now, how many young artists lost to war, lost to disease, lost to their own insane drive to create? Here’s another, dead at 28.

He considered his personal life to be rikki-tik, right on top of the world. It was only where it intersected with society and his neighbors that he found a little trouble.

Portrait of Edith Schiele, Oil on Canvas, 1918, 140 x 110.5cm, Austrian Gallery Belvedere

Art is love.
All the young dudes…

Mind you, this was all mostly rumored. But it was also likely. Egon was probably a pretty bad boy. He diddled his wife’s sister, his own sister, was arrested for pornography, was kicked out of his father’s home, and was run out of a few neighborhoods on suspicion of child molesting. He was a complete and possibly innocent-at-heart hedonist, which is frankly the kind of character we prefer in our artists.

Levitation, 1915


Art is truth.
All the young dudes…

He studied under Klimt which doubtless reinforced his own sense of sexual entitlement as much as it influenced his early, derivative work. But he soon moved on into his own vision and began creating exciting, breathtaking art.

Unlike Modigliani, who knew for his whole life that he was doomed by his disease, death snuck up on Egon. The world flu pandemic  took him down like wolves take a rabbit, with barely any warning and without mercy. Pfft. Gone.

The Lovers, Pencil and Body Color on paper, 1915

Art is spirit.
All the young dudes…

The choice you make to be an artist is seldom a conscious one, not really. There is much about the life to attract anyone, but real artists respond on a different level altogether. Real artists are making something that denies reward, something that is only accidentally useful to the world. Real artists are taking something dead and infusing it with the best part of their own humanity. They are procreating in reverse, making themselves in images that are forever unique, with non-replicatable DNA that can influence but cannot be copied without damaging its own progeny—art that can inflame but cannot fire. For once and for all time, if you would know the artist, look to his art.

Art is life.
All the young dudes, carry the news.

Port of Trieste, oil and pencil on card


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