Egon Schiele was Klimt's protégé.
In 1907, when Egon Schiele was still a teenager, he sought out Klimt, his artistic idol, in search of guidance. The duo formed a firm friendship, bonding over their shared interest in figurative art, the erotic, and the modern condition in Vienna. Klimt introduced his student to many galleries and artists, helping to launch his career. Many of Schiele’s early works borrow from Klimt’s singular style, and his 1912 work, Cardinal and Nun (Caress), is a tongue-in-cheek parody of The Kiss. Schiele called his teacher, “an artist of incomparable perfection; a man of rare depth”, and described his art as sacred. In 1913, he produced an unfinished sketch of Klimt in his famous blue smock – the artist always wore this loose fitting garment while painting, with nothing underneath – and in 1917, the two men joined forces to found Vienna’s Kunsthalle (Hall of Art) in an effort to keep local artists from going abroad.
With a nearly 30 year age difference, Schiele and Klimt had a mentor-student relationship that lasted throughout their artistic careers. From copycat styling to love triangle rumors, this twisted story is told in their paintings.
In 1907 a then-teenaged Schiele saw Klimt as an idol and sought him out. The two fostered an artistic friendship and elements of Klimt’s avant-garde style can be found in many of Schiele’s early works and drawings….
The oeuvres of Klimt and Schiele are linked both thematically and stylistically. Moreover, both artists were members of the avant-garde Vienna Secession group and both of them regularly shocked society by showing explicitly erotic paintings and drawings.”
The two artists are always linked by time period, style, and location. Schiele was a protege of Klimt. A very interesting relationship between the two, I’ve always thought, is that Schiele is most famous for a type of work that people often forget Klimt did prolifically as well. I am speaking of erotic art. Google Egon Schiele and your browser window will be flooded with suggestive nudes. You have to search a little more specifically for Klimt’s work, but it’s definitely out there in abundance. The fascinating thing for me is the subtle difference in style of the two artists when working with the same subject.
Klimt’s erotic sketches are all, well, kind of sexy. His models are natural and beautiful. His entire canon is full of powerful women and lush overtones of sexuality, but theses drawings are rough, obscene, and matter-of-fact. It’s clear that Klimt was mystified by and worshipped the female form.
Schiele, on the other hand, is the creator of some rather unsettling nudes. You might recall that I have his “Two Reclining Girls” hanging in my living room, much to the dismay of my parents. He is famously controversial for painting very young models, often denizens of orphanages. He praised their naturalness and lack of embarrassment. The resulting paintings are shocking to behold. His nudes often take some of the same poses as Klimt’s, but the models stare the viewer down, twisted in displays of grotesque eroticism. While Klimt’s women look nubile, Schiele’s girls tend to look wild and emaciated.
...both artists were undoubtedly genius. However, one was a brilliant and only occasionally controversial success, while the other was a tragic and disturbed wunderkind of sorts. Their lives ended appropriately for their art as well. The two actually died in the same year, but with opposite legacies behind them. Schiele died of Spanish Flu at the young age of 28, his work condemned and misunderstood. Klimt lived to 50, with both fame in life and posthumously.