Wally, 1913 © Uni Mainz
Have you ever been to an exhibition and did not want to leave without your favourite piece of art? I made this experience recently when I walked into the rooms of Vienna’s Albertina gallery where Egon Schiele is currently on display.
Nude Schiele, 1910 © Uni Mainz
Schiele is gorgeous. I once again fell in love with this eminent Austrian expressionist. But I think I have to confess that I have a problem when it comes to early 20th century art. I might fall under the label of ‘expressionist junkie’, especially when it comes to Egon Schiele, who was an outcast in Austria while still alive.
Friendship, 1913 © Uni Mainz
It’s a feeling difficult to resist: If you take a deep breath and fill up your lungs to capacity, then hold it, feel your throat stiffening, your heart pumping, and your blood thickening it’s the kind of feeling you’ll get when looking at the important loans from all over the world. It’s something like… something like love at first sight! No no, I’m not going to further describe the startling emotional power, creative energy and passion that emanate from Egon Schiele’s work of art. I know there are many others who can do so much better.
Egon Schiele, nude self portrait, 1916 © Albertina
Perhaps you’re a connoisseur? A collector of art? Actually, I met one at the exhibition. And I couldn’t help noticing how he changed when he talked about his collection. His eyes and voice were softening as he described a beloved piece of art as fondly as if he was speaking of a child or pet. This affection was even more evident when he started to talk about his first pieces of art he ever acquired. It appears that most people buy art quite simply because they fall in love with it. Have you ever experienced such? Well, do have a look at the current Schiele exhibition in Vienna’s Albertina and illumination will come, regardless of taste…
From December 7, 2005, through March 19, 2006, Vienna’s Albertina devotes a comprehensive exhibition to Egon Schiele. More than 170 of his works from the collection of the Albertina are complemented by about 80 important loans from all over the world. For the first time, Schiele’s important drawings are shown in a comprehensive way: you can admire the self-portraits, nudes, portraits and landscapes from the beginning of the career of an artist who was surrounded by scandal, from his time at the Vienna Academy to his early death at the age of 28 in 1918.
Text: Christina Merl