Today is a particular day for me and, as promised last week, I post a celebration post.
Two reasons for this post : one day, one land, two birthdays , two genius…
You still know the first genius of my life as he shares this blog with me, my today and my tomorrow !
For the second one, that is quite a long and old story but I will try to make short for the purpose of the blog (my friends don’t want to ear me anymore about this theme ^^).
Selbstbildnis mit alkekengi – 1912
I met the work of Egon Schiele, born the 12th june 1890 in Tulln (Austria), when I was still in highschool. I had a work to write about a theme I choosed : « Splitting of the austro-hungarian Empire ». I had already a great interest for Central Europe and the turning point of the XIXth-XXth century. I also wrote a big part of my work about how this unstable period has inspired the austrian art. I inevitably spoke about Klimt but I fell in love with the work of Egon Schiele. Until then, it is a leitmotiv of my life. I wanted to know everything about this so particular work and about him. With this work, I built my way of thinking and increased my passion for art : a real way of living.
I was so fascinated that after my first travel in Vienna I spent a month in my room, with the Requiem of Mozart, writing a roman. Today I find this text imperfect but that was what I needed to do.
Egon Schiele by Anton Josef Trcka
His work is unfortunately quite unknown in France. When I say « Schiele », the answer is often a question : « what ? ». However, in 28 years of a tumultuous life, this man has made more than anyone, brilliant. He is especially known for his nudes but his work is really more than this : complete. His expressionismus is cruel, without compromise or indulgence. We forget ugliness because a new beauty is born (see the books of Umberto Eco about the history of beauty and ugliness).
He made his first steps with Klimt but decided to follow his own way. As a tribute to Klimt and a symbol of his independance, he painted “Agony” in 1912.
Agony – 1912
His personality was also without compromise. Love him or hate him … he does not matter … he remains who he is. He is impertinent but a virtuose can be ! His family wanted him to work in the austrian railways … he will be an artist. An artist makes concession but lives for his art. Too much ? He went to prison for this (I will not develop here this episode that would demand a defense from my part but be free to ask and I’ll post a complement). His work is a perpetual friction between life and death ; dark and sublime : « I am a man, I love life and I love death ».
He remains an « eternal child » who searchs the figure of the father. His father, who suffered of syphillis, killed himself when he was still a young boy and that was the trauma of his life. He found refuge in the complicity with his sister « Gerti » and then with his first love « Wally ». But that is with « Edith » that he made his life and married. They wait a child but the tragic destiny came with the spanish flu and he died the 31th october 1918 just some days after her.
These three women of his life are the faces you will identify admirating the paintings and drawings he made. A tragic life, an incomparable character, a unique work… lot of provocation : Art !
He also wrote poems and you can feel his personality and sensitiveness just reading. That is like a landscape : colors, smell. That is like his soul : an “eternal child” :
I, eternal child —
I sacrificed myself for others …
who looked and did not see me …
Everything was dear to me —
I wanted to look at the angry people
with loving eyes,
to make their eyes do likewise;
And to the jealous,
give them gifts,
telling them I am worthless.
He is above all an artist
who has great spiritual gifts,
he who expresses
Artists are quick to sense
the great trembling light,
the breathing of living creatures
the coming and going.
they are the chosen ones,
fruits of Mother Earth,
the kindliest of humanity.
They are easily excited
and speak a language of their own.
But what is genius?
Their language is the language of the gods
and they dwell here in paradise.
This world is paradise to them.
All is song
and like unto the gods
All that they say
they need have no reason for.
They speak it,
it must be so – because they have the gift.
They are explorers.
Divine, highly gifted
versatile, omniscient –
modest living beings,
Their polar opposite is the prosaic man
the everyday man.
Following each line is a shiver like a Mahler Symphonie : crazy, fantastic, turbulent, genial … This way life should be !
« Art can not be modern, it is of all eternity ».
For more information follow those links (or be free to ask) :
http://www.leopoldmuseum.org/ (the temple !)
Egon Schiele, Complete Work, Jane Kallir
Her gallery in New-York : http://www.gseart.com/
See also the books of his best friend and art critic Arthur Roessler : “Im Gefängnis”, “Briefe und Prosa”, In Memoriam”.
Since some weeks, a french artist, Xavier Coste, as also made a tribute to schiele with a comic :