Overall, Schiele nurtured an intense obsession to challenge the tradition of art, which he deemed too stoic and conservative. Instead, he painted rather grotesque and erotic nudes with revealing poses that were generally judged as over-explicit and radical at that time. The exhibition showcases such works with spread legs, uncovered bottoms and other sexual positions, enough to keep the viewer mouth agape in both bewilderment and intrigue.
Egon Schiele, Kneeling Woman with Bent Head, 1915, Leopold Museum, Vienna
In “Kneeling Woman with Bent Head” (1915), Schiele adopts the perspective of distance by the graphic details on the left stocking so that it appears closer versus the right leg applied with blur colors. The flowing bodily curves enhance the exposed skin and swirling slip in rhythmical movement.
Egon Schiele, Krumau on the Vltava (The Small Town IV), 1914, Leopold Museum, Vienna
Schiele also painted quiet landscape and townscape scenes around Krumau (currently Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic) and Austrian countrysides. The melodic composition of nature and the dark toned multi-angled houses encapsulates an almost fairyland-like atmosphere, as depicted in “The Small Town III” (1913), “Krumau on the Vltava (The Small Town IV)” (1914), and others.
Immersed with Schiele’s works in this exhibition are also outstanding pieces by Koloman Moser (“Marigolds,” 1909), Richard Gerstl (“Semi-Nude Self-Portrait,” 1902/04), Gustav Klimt (“Schönbrunn Landscape,” 1916), Oskar Kokoschka (“Hermann Schwarzwald II,” 1916), and other artists of the Vienna Succession, who have all played significant roles in Egon Schiele’s pursuit for meaningful expression. In 1918, Schiele died from the Spanish flu, three days after his pregnant wife Edith. His works continue to echo the unrivaled magnitude of passion, fearlessness and vigor.
Egon Schiele from the Collection of the Leopold Museum – Young Genius in Vienna 1900
Date: January 26th – April 9th, 2023
Opening Hours: 9:30 – 17:30 (Fridays till 20:00, Last admission 17:00)
Closed on Mondays
Place: Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum
Address: 8-36 Ueno-Park, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Text: Alma Reyes
Photos: Courtesy of Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum