Artwork of the month by Egon Schiele

7December 2006

Egon Schiele was an expressionist during a time when expressionism was new and innovative.   For the most part, expressionist works today are worthless decoration.  I explored the ideas of expressionistic oil painting early in my career and eventually rejected it.  Expressionism is an ism that I grew to detest, then appreciate, then pass off as a phase, then start to enjoy again.  Nonetheless, Schiele was clearly an innovative artist with uninhibited erotic desires.  The majority of his subject matter are erotic nudes.

Egon Schiele
Austrian, 1890-1918
“Portrait of Paris von Gütersloh”
1918, oil on canvas.

Egon Schiele died from influenza in 1918 before completing this painting.  Regardless, this unfinished painting is a masterpiece.  The subject, Paris von Gütersloh, a painter, writer, actor, producer, etc, was a friend Schiele admired for his prolific and expansive career in the arts.  This being the last painting Schiele worked on, it is a treat to look at because we have a chance to see the process of his work.  It is display at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

“I do not deny that I have made drawings and watercolors of an erotic nature. But they are always works of art.  Are there no artists who have done erotic pictures?”
-Egon Schiele.