Stunning, haunting, and erotic, Egon Schiele’s paintings reveal the intense beauty and emphasize the mystery of the women that he painted. His women are never gazing directly at you, instead, you are on the outside of the glass pane looking into the intimate space that she lives in. You, mildly embarrassed, but certainly intrigued, are an observer peering into her private moment. Although she is seemingly complacent at first glance, you soon feel invited to watch as she moves provocatively for her observer: lifting her dress over the shoulders, stretching out her limbs on the floor, struggling to remove the last garment from over the wrists, allowing her robe to fall casually open. You are seduced.
You are seduced by both the woman– the subject– as well as by Schiele’s expressively bolded lines and saturated pigment. Each thoughtful line indicates a sense of movement and action while the muddled primary of colors demand your eye to fall into the small pools of fabric and skin. This work just is, it stands alone without symbolism, grandeur, or a desire to search for a deeper meaning. It’s modern portraiture of the Modern woman; it’s aesthetically pleasing; it’s obsessive.
As an early Modernist, Schiele was apart of the Austrian avant-garde alongside artists like Gustav Klimt. In the early twentieth century, his work pushed the boundaries of gallery acceptability and was, whether he knew it or not, apart of the culture that challenged the tradition and standards of painting.
All images found on Egon Schiele tumblr.