Egon Schiele June 12, 1890 - October 31 1918 was an Austrian Painter; Schiele was a major figurative painter of the early 20th century. His work is noted for its intensity, and the many self-portraits the artist produced. The twisted body shapes and the expressive line that characterize, Egon's paintings and drawings mark the artist as an early exponent of expressionism. Schiele was born in 1890 in Tulln, Lower Austria. His father, Adolf Schiele was the station master of the Tulln station in the Australian state Railways; his mother Marie nee Soukpova was Czech from Cesky Krumloy (krumau)in southern Bohemia. As a child he was fascinated by trains, and would spend many hours drawing them, to the point where his father felt obliged to destroy his sketchbooks. When he was 11 years old he moved to the nearby city of Kremsand later to Klosterneuburg, to attend secondary school. To those around him, schiele was regarded as a strange child, shy and reserved, he did poorly at school except in athletics and drawing, he was usually in classes made up of younger pupils and also displayed incestuous tendencies towards his younger sister Gertrude, who was known as Gerti, and his father was aware of Egon's behaviour was once forced to break down the door of a locked room that egon and Gerti were in to see what they were doing, only to discover they were developing a film. When he was sixteen he took the twelve year old Gerti by train to Trieste without permission and spent a night in a hotel room with her sister. When he was fifth teen his father died from syphilis and he became a ward of his maternal uncle Leopold Czihaczec, also a railway official. Although he wanted Ulrich to follow in his footsteps, and was distressed at his lack of interest in academia. In his early years, he was strongly influenced by Klimt, although imitations of their styles particularly with the former, are noticeably visible in his first pieces of work, he soon evolved into his own distinctive style. His earliest work between 1907 and 1909 contain strong similarities with those of Klimt, as well as influences from Art Nouveau, in 1910 he began experimenting with nudes and within a year a definitive style featuring emaciated, sickly-coloured figures, often with strong sexual overtones. Within this year schiele also painted and drew many children. Progressively, his work grew more complex and thematic and after his imprisonments in 1912 he dealt with themes such as death and rebirth, although female's nudes remained his main output. During the war his paintings became larger and more detailed, when he had the time to produce them. His military service however gave him limited time and much of his output consisted of linear drawings of scenery and military officers. Around this time he also began experimenting with the theme of motherhood and family. His wife Edith was the model for most of his female figures, but during the war due to circumstance, many of his sitters were male. Since 1915 his female nudes had become fuller in figure, but many were deliberately illustrated with a lifeless doll-like appearance. Towards the end of his life, he drew many natural and architectural subjects. His last few drawings consisted of female nudes, some in masturbatory poses. Some view his work as being grotesque, erotic, pornographic or disturbing, focusing on sex, death and discovery. He focused on portraits of others as well as himself. In his later years, while he still worked often with nudes they were done in a more realist fashion. He also painted tributes to Van Gogh's sunflower as landscapes and still life's. His body of work is noted for the intensity and the large number of self- portraits he produced. The twisted body shapes that characterize, his paintings and drawings make the artist a notable exponent of expressionism. The most important collection of his work is housed in the Leopold Museum, Vienna.
The body of work which the twenty-eight year old Egon Shiele left behind is indelibly marked by the stamp of his youth. His earliest Expressionist pieces chart the universal adolescent search for personal and sexual identity, while the adoption of more conventional stylistic methods accompanies his growing maturity and acceptance of the role o husband and artistic leader. Although it is wrong to conflate Schiele's life with his art, the art probably is more strongly shaped by his personal development than is commonly the case. Unlike many modernists in other countries, Schiele did not have the support of a group of like-minded colleagues. Drawing creative sustenance from an eclectic smattering of foreign and domestic influences, he reached his ultimate formal solutions largely alone. So long as modern art history was written in terms of broad schools and movements, the idiosyncratic achievements of Ego Schiele could never receive proper recognition. Today, however, we are more inclined to recognize that history is a messy mass of loose ends, subject to myriad distortions and subjective biases. From this perspective, Schiele is very much a man of our times, just as his anguish and confusion reinforce our pervasive conviction that there are no easy answers to the existential dilemmas confronting us at new century.