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Egon Leo Adolf Schiele

Also Known As: "Egon Leo Adolf Schiele"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Tullin an der Donau, Austro-Hungarian Empire
Death: October 31, 1918 (28)
Vienna, Vienna, Austria (Spanish Flu)
Immediate Family:

Son of Adolf Eugen Schiele and Marie Schiele (Soukupova)
Husband of Edith Schiele (Harms)
Ex-partner of Walburga Wally Neuzil
Brother of Elivira Schiele; Melanie Schiele and Gertrude Schiele

Managed by: Malka Mysels
Last Updated:

About Egon Schiele

Egon Schiele (June 12, 1890 – October 31, 1918) was an Austrian painter. A protégé of Gustav Klimt, Schiele was a major figurative painter of the early 20th century. His work is noted for its intensity, and the many self-portraits the artist produced. The twisted body shapes and the expressive line that characterize Schiele's paintings and drawings mark the artist as an early exponent of Expressionism.

The Leopold Museum, Vienna houses perhaps Schiele's most important and complete collection of work, featuring over 200 exhibits. The museum sold one of these, “Houses With Colorful Laundry (Suburb II)”, for $40.1 million at Sotheby's in 2011. Other notable collections of Schiele's art include the Egon Schiele-Museum, Tulln and Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna.

Schiele was born in 1890 in Tulln, Lower Austria. His father, Adolf Schiele, was the station master of the Tulln station in the Austrian State Railways; his mother Marie, née Soukupová, was a Czech from Český Krumlov (Krumau), in southern Bohemia. His younger sister Gertrude (who was known as Gerti), In 1911, Schiele met and had a relationship with the seventeen-year-old Walburga (Wally) Neuzil, who lived with him in Vienna and served as a model for some of his most striking paintings

In 1914, Schiele glimpsed the sisters Edith and Adéle Harms, who lived with their parents across the street from his studio in the Viennese suburb of Hietzing, 101 Hietzinger Hauptstrasse. They were a middle-class family and Protestant by faith; their father was a master locksmith. In 1915, Schiele chose to marry the more socially acceptable Edith, but had apparently expected to maintain a relationship with Wally. However, when he explained the situation to Wally, she left him immediately and never saw him again.

This abandonment led him to paint Death and the Maiden, where Wally's portrait is based on a previous pairing, but Schiele's is newly struck. (In February 1915, Schiele wrote a note to his friend Arthur Roessler stating: "I intend to get married, advantageously. Not to Wally.") Despite some opposition from the Harms family, Schiele and Edith were married on 17 June 1915, the anniversary of the wedding of Schiele's parents.

In the autumn of 1918, the Spanish flu pandemic that claimed more than 20,000,000 lives in Europe reached Vienna. Edith, who was six months pregnant, succumbed to the disease on 28 October. Schiele died only three days after his wife. He was 28 years old. During the three days between their deaths, Schiele drew a few sketches of Edith; these were his last works.

Schiele has been the subject of a biographical film, Excess & Punishment (aka Egon Schiele Exzess und Bestrafung), a 1980 film originating in Germany with a European cast that explores Schiele's artistic demons leading up to his early death. The film is directed by Herbert Vesely and stars Mathieu Carriere as Schiele, Jane Birkin as his early artistic muse, Christine Kaufman as his wife and Kristina Van Eyck as her sister. Joanna Scott's 1990 novel Arrogance was based on the life of Schiele and has him as the main character.

His life was also represented in a theatrical dance production by Stephan Mazurek called Egon Schiele, presented in May 1995, for which Rachel's, an American post-rock group, composed a score titled Music for Egon Schiele.

Schiele's life and work have also been the subject of essays, including a discussion of his works by fashion photographer Richard Avedon in an essay on portraiture entitled "Borrowed Dogs." Mario Vargas Llosa uses the work of Schiele as a conduit to seduce and morally exploit a main character in his 1997 novel The Notebooks of Don Rigoberto.

In the autumn of 1918, the Spanish flu pandemic that claimed more than 20,000,000 lives in Europe reached Vienna. Edith, who was six months pregnant, succumbed to the disease on 28 October. Schiele died only three days later. He was 28 years old. During the three days between their deaths, Schiele drew a few sketches of Edith; these were his last works.

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Egon Schiele's Timeline

1890
June 12, 1890
Tullin an der Donau, Austro-Hungarian Empire
1918
October 31, 1918
Age 28
Vienna, Vienna, Austria