Egon Schiele (1890 – 1918), along with Gustav Klimt and Oskar Kokoschka, counts among the most significant artists of the Wiener Moderne. His exceptional talent was discovered early on. Schiele was accepted to the Academy of the Arts in Vienna at the young age of 16, leaving after only three years to create the Neukunstgruppe in 1909. In the same year four of his works were displayed at the Internationale Kunstschau.
Influenced by Gustav Klimt, with whom he shared a friendship since 1907, and his fascination for East Asian art, Schiele soon developed a completely unique style. By the early age of 20 he was already a complete artist.
Leaving Vienna in 1911, Schiele experienced one of his most productive periods. His lifestyle, however, was seen as scandalous outside the capital. A court sentence for „spreading lewd drawings“ even led to his imprisonment.
Schiele served in the Austrian army during World War I from 1915. His first year of service in Vienna allowed him to continue to work in his studio in Hietzing, a Viennese suburb, in his free time. In the following year, however, he was transferred to a POW camp and found less time for his artistic work. Nonetheless, Schiele’s works were shown in Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Helsinki between 1917 and 1918.
Schiele achieved his breakthrough in 1918 with a group exhibition of the Vienna Secession, where he was able to present a wide selection of paintings and drawings to the public. He subsequently participated in the A Century of Viennese Painting exhibition at the Kunsthaus Zurich as well as shows in Prague and Dresden. The 28 year old had reached the peak of his success when the Spanish Flu took the life of his pregnant wife Edith and finally his own.
Egon Schiele, whose work is strongly associated with his biography, is one of the most highly valued Modernist artists today. His works are sold for record prices at international auctions.