Egon Schiele (1890 - 1918 ) was an Austrian painter. A protégé of Gustav Klimt, Schiele became a major figurative painter of the early 20th century. His work is noted for its intensity and its raw sexuality, and the many naked self-portraits the artist produced. The twisted body shapes and the expressive line that characterizes his work, mark the artist as an early exponent of Expressionism.
As a child, to those around him, Schiele was regarded as a strange child. Shy and reserved, he did poorly in school, except in athletics and drawing. He also displayed incestuous tendencies towards his younger sister Gertrude. When Schiele was 15 years old, his father died from syphilis, and Egon became a ward of his maternal uncle.
In 1907, Schiele sought out Gustav Klimt, who generously mentored him, buying his drawings, offering to exchange them for some of his own, arranging models for him and introducing him to potential patrons.
Klimt invited Schiele to exhibit some of his work at the 1909 Vienna Kunstschau, where he encountered the work of Edvard Munch. Free of the constraints of the Academy's conventions, Schiele began to explore not only the human form, but also human sexuality
Schiele's work had been already daring, but it went a bold step further with the inclusion of Klimt's decorative eroticism and with what some may like to call figurative distortions, that included elongations, deformities, and sexual openness. Egon Schiele’s Kneeling Nude with Raised Hands (1910)is considered among the most significant nude art pieces made during the 20th century. Schiele’s radical and developed approach towards the naked human form challenged both scholars and progressives alike.
Schiele moved to Neulengbach, 35 km west of Vienna. As it was in Vienna, Schiele's studio became a gathering place for Neulengbach's delinquent children. Schiele's way of life aroused much animosity among the town's inhabitants, and in April 1912 he was arrested for seducing a young girl below the age of consent.
Schiele was imprisoned for exhibiting erotic drawings in a place accessible to children.
Schiele was ordered to report for active service in the army where he was initially stationed in Prague.
In the autumn of 1918, the Spanish flu pandemic that claimed more than 20,000,000 lives in Europe reached Vienna. Schiele's wife, who was six months pregnant, succumbed to the disease on the October 28. Schiele died three days after his wife. He was 28 years old.
His candid and erotic nudes shocked Vienna, and his untimely death left him unregarded for 50 years. But Schiele's portraits reveal a top-ranking draughtsman and bold and sensual artist