Egon Schiele was a major figurative painter of an Austrian origin renowned for work full of intensity and raw sexuality. Much of the artistry produced by the artist included naked self-portraits and was characterized by expressionism. The evocative lines and twisted body shapes elaborate upon this particular trait.
Born on June 12, 1890 in Tulln, Lower Austria, Schiele’s father was the master of the local railways station. Née Soukupová, his mother, was a Czech from southern Bohemia.The environment around him was not one conducive to art. From the time of his early childhood, trains held a unique appeal to Schiele. In fact he would always designate a couple of hours from his day in drawing them. Initially his father was ecstatic seeing this, thinking his son had the aptitude to become an engineer. When, however, Schiele expressed his passion for art, his father grew so agitated that he wanted to tear his son’s sketchbooks.
At tender age of 11, Schiele began secondary school. To his peers there, he seemed strange. Consequently, he often kept to himself. He was really bad in his academics and only fared well in athletics and drawing. He was made to attend most of his classes with much younger pupils. By the time he was fifteen, he had left his school many times.
Egon Schiele is speculated to have had held a sexual inclination towards his own sister. It is said that his father was cautious of this mannerism and once broke down a locked door occupied by Egon and Gerti to see what they were doing. They were merely making a film. Yet, soon later, he took his sister away to hotel room and spent the night with her.
Schiele was just fifteen when his father passed away from syphilis and was moved to his uncle’s place. Though he wanted Schiele to do something in the field of academia, he was forced by Scheile’s persistence to get him an art tutor. In 1990 Scheile was accepted to Kunstgewerbeschule (School of Arts and Crafts) in Vienna where Schiele, frustrated by the faculty’s conservative style, left only after three years.
By early 1910 Schiele began to establish his style of artistry. Hardly twenty years old, his work had evolved to a great degree. In 1911, he met a seventeen-year-old Walburga (Wally) Neuzil. She moved with him in Vienna and acted as a model for most of his later paintings. The duo was unhappy of what according to them was a judgmental Viennese milieu, and moved to Český Krumlov (Krumau), a small town in southern Bohemia. Even from there, they were driven out, as many people were disapproving of Schiele’s erotic work and lifestyle.
Together, they fled to Neulengbach, where in 1912, he was taken into custody for seducing an underage girl. The police also inspected his place, upon this visit where most of his work that they found was labeled pornographic for which he was subsequently charged.
In 1914, Schiele decided to marry someone more socially acceptable than Wally. And so he settled down with Edith, daughter of a locksmith that lived across his place. He had expected Wally to keep her relationship with him, who upon hearing his intentions ended up completely abandoning him.
In 1918, the Spanish flue pandemic ended many of lives in Europe. And Scheile and his six month pregnant wife eventually became it’s victim. Egon Schiele died just three days after his wife at the age of twenty eight. In those three days, he drew portraits of his wife which are known to be his final work.