EGON SCHIELE'S PORTRAITS
By Alessandra Comini
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Egon Schiele was a meteor that flashed across the galaxy of Viennese art at the beginning of the last century. Although he lived only twenty-eight years—dying quite suddenly of influenza in 1918 just as World War I came to an end—he left a stunning pictorial oeuvre. Schiele’s obsession with sexuality, his own and that of others, made him at once a voyeur and a participant in that sexual imperative which Freud was simultaneously plumbing with such unsettling results. The disturbing revelations of Schiele’s unmasking portraiture and of the new science of psychology disclosed a collective cultural anxiety during the last years of the crumbling Austrian empire. As a seer into the souls of his sitters, Schiele redefined portraiture in the age of Angst.
Alessandra Comini is University Distinguished Professor of Art History Emerita at Southern Methodist University, where she taught for thirty-one years after having served on the faculty at Columbia University for ten years. She is the author of eight books, one of which, Egon Schiele’s Portraits, was nominated for the National Book Award. The Republic of Austria extended her its Grand Decoration of Honor in 1990. This is her third book on the artist; she has also published Schiele in Prison, an extended essay and English translation of the 1912, makeshift diary Schiele kept during his twenty-four days in a provincial prison cell—a forgotten cell which she discovered and photographed in 1963. The cell is now part of a Schiele Museum in the village of Neulengbach. Her 2014 Megan Crespi mystery novel, Killing for Klimt, is followed by The Schiele Slaughters.
“The best book on the Viennese wunderkind so far and maybe forever.”
—John Canaday in The New York Times Book Review
8 1/2 X 11
8 1/2 x 11