Woman undressing | Egon Schiele | 1917

Woman undressing | Egon Schiele | 1917

Woman undressing | Egon Schiele | 1917

There are different kinds of paintings. While some are really expressive and dramatic; others are lighter and more aseptic. To balance with yesterday’s painting, which we said we could hang it in a dentist waiting room and nobody would be disturbed; today we are going to look the Austrian Egon Schiele who, to my understanding, is in the opposite side of the expression-threshold.

Our artist studied with Gustav Klimt, who was fond of encouraging his students. He saw in Schiele a talent that needed to be developed and became interested in him. Many times, Klimt would trade with Schiele his own art and, other times, he would provide him with contacts for his future career in art.

After some time, Schiele was considered Klimt’s successor, but I don’t agree with such title. Although, in some point, they are similar, the styles from each are quite different. Klimt is considered to be a modernist (or, let’s say, that belonged to the art nouveau movement) and, by association, some consider Schiele to be a modernist too. But, from my humble opinion, Schiele’s work is much rawer and more visceral. That’s why I think that he should be considered as an expressionist.

Trying to get around last paragraph’ snobbism, let’s say that his works are characterized by individuals of irregular lines, where color, if it is there, is dull and has no importance. The “beauty” and harmony are absent. His motifs, although there are exceptions, are generally sexual. This kind of art, at the beginning of the 20th century wasn’t very welcome, but on the contrary: Schiele was once put in jail accused of being a pornography promoter.

Woman undressing is a portrait of a woman taking her dress off upwards. And she does it in a strange and forced position. The painting lacks of color, which we only find it in the woman’s hair, in her dress and in the black stockings. That dress and the stockings are put in a position that makes us focus in the… yes, yes, in the woman’s ass. The irregular lines could make us think of an old woman, but I don’t think we can know this: maybe the lack of harmonic strokes only tries to make the woman more grotesque and not necessarily old.

Although you could hardly decorate a nice room with today’s painting, Schiele is still one of my favorites, without any doubt.

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~ by Álvaro Mazzino on August 11, 2010.

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