Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele were among the most daring and controversial artists in Vienna during the culturally turbulent decades around the turn of the twentieth century. They worked out their provocative depictions of the human body, created in a search for psychological truth as well as physical realism, in the direct and intimate medium of drawing. In Klimt’s studies, the distinctive character or unsettling emotional resonance of the person portrayed comes through in the artist’s delicate, sinuous lines. The striking presence of the individual in Schiele’s more finished drawings, often rendered with extreme frankness and bold coloration, pulses with dramatic immediacy.
Although Klimt was almost thirty years Schiele’s senior, he quickly recognized and encouraged the younger artist’s extraordinary talent, and they remained mutually admiring colleagues until the shared year of their deaths, in 1918. The sixty important drawings exquisitely reproduced in this volume reach from each artist’s early academic studies to more incisive and unconventional explorations of nature, psychology, sexuality, and spirituality that led to controversy in their lifetimes and remain striking and unsettling today. This album of unforgettable drawings from the Albertina Museum, Vienna, provides a direct connection to the minds of two master draftsmen exploring the limits of representation.
About the Author
Katie Hanson is Assistant Curator, Paintings, Art of Europe, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.