With his graphic style, distortion of figures, and defiance of conventional ideals of beauty, Egon Schiele (1890-1918) was a pioneer of Austrian Expressionism and one of the most astonishing portrait painters of the 20th century .
After a brief flirtation with the brilliant art nouveau style of Gustav Klimt, his mentor , Schiele developed his own aesthetic, much more raw and aggressive, with sharp lines, soft tones and elongated figures. His numerous portraits and self-portraits stunned the Viennese upper class with their unprecedented psychological and sexual intensity , which favored revealing or disturbing erotic poses, in which the models curled up on the floor, stretched out with their legs spread, they glare at the viewer and show their genitals. His models could be skeletal and sickly or, on the contrary, strong and sensual.
Schiele's work was considered ugly and even morally questionable by many of his contemporaries, and in 1912 the artist served a short prison sentence for obscenity . Nowadays, his work is admired for his revolutionary vision of the human figure and for his peculiar, direct and passionate, almost furious stroke. This book presents key works by Egon Schiele that are a reflection of his brief but intense career and his profound contribution to the development of modern art, reaching contemporary talents such as Tracey Emin and Jenny Saville.