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Egon Schiele was seen as the successor to Gustav Klimt, but died before he could fulfil his promise.

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Egon Schiele was seen as the successor to Gustav Klimt, but died before he could fulfil his promise. His fascinating character is accounted for by his family background and upbringing. His father Adolf worked for the Austrian State Railways, in charge of an important station where his son was born in June 1890 in Tulln. Schiele was sent away to school in 1901, first to Krems, then to Klosterneuburg on the outskirts of Vienna. In 1904 the whole family followed because of his father's deteriorating health. Adolf's condition was soon madness, and in the following year he died, aged fifty-four. Egon felt afterwards that he had had a special relationship with his father. He disliked his mother because he felt she did not mourn for his father enough, or give her son the attention he craved. During his late teens Schiele's emotions were directed into an intense relationship with his younger sister, Gerti, which was not without its incestuous implications. When he was sixteen and she was twelve, he took her to Trieste, where they stayed in a double-room at a hotel. ...read more.


At this time he showed an interest in pubescent children, especially young girls, who were often the subjects of his drawings, some were extremely erotic. He made part of his income by supplying collectors of pornography. Schiele was also fascinated by his own appearance, and made self-portraits in large numbers. Schiele liked to give an impression of extreme poverty. He suffered from persecution mania. In 1911 Schiele met seventeen-year-old Wally Neuzil, who lived with him for a while and served as the model for some of his best paintings. Schiele and Wally moved to the small town of Krumau, where Schiele had family connections, but were driven out by the inhabitants' disapproval. They then moved to Neulengbach. Schiele's studio here became a gathering place for the delinquent children of the neighbourhood. His way of life inevitably aroused animosity, and in April 1912 he was arrested. The police seized more than a hundred drawings, which they considered pornographic, and Schiele was imprisoned, to await trial for seducing a young girl below the age of consent. ...read more.


He wrote her a letter saying that despite their parting, they take a holiday together every summer - without Edith, Wally refused. Schiele and Edith married, despite her family's opposition, in June 1915. Schiele's mother wasn't there. Four days later Schiele was called up. He was in part of a detachment transporting Russian prisoners-of-war to and from Vienna, later became a clerk in a prison camp for Russian officers, and finally, in January 1917, he was moved to work for the 'Imperial and Royal Commission for the Army in the Field' - a depot, which supplied food, drink, tobacco and other comforts to the Austrian army. Prices for Schiele's drawings trebled after the war, and he was offered many portrait commissions. He and Edith moved to a new and grander house and studio. Their pleasure in it was brief. On 19 October 1918 Edith, who was pregnant, fell ill with Spanish influenza. On 28 October she died, Egon was devastated and immediately came down with the same sickness. He died on 31 October, three days after his wife. ...read more.

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