New Digital Archive Will Feature the Complete Works of Egon Schiele: Start with 419 Paintings, Drawings & Sculptures

If you’ve ever mis­tak­en an Egon Schiele for a Gus­tav Klimt, you can sure­ly be forgiven—the Aus­tri­an mod­ernist don served as a North Star for Schiele, who sought out Klimt, appren­ticed him­self, and received a great deal of encour­age­ment from his elder. But he would soon strike out on his own, devel­op­ing a grotesque, exag­ger­at­ed, yet ele­gant­ly sen­su­al style that shocked his con­tem­po­raries and made him a lead­ing fig­ure of Aus­tri­an Expres­sion­ism.

Now, a cen­tu­ry after his death in 1918 at age 28, a num­ber of exhi­bi­tions have high­light­ed the com­plex­i­ty of his brief career, dur­ing which he “cre­at­ed a for­mi­da­ble out­put that turned him into a real icon for new gen­er­a­tions,” writes Ele­na Mar­tinique.

Schiele achieved “a remark­able impact and per­ma­nen­cy” and it’s easy to see why. Best known for his erot­ic, elon­gat­ed por­traits and self-por­traits, “sear­ing explo­rations of their sitter’s psy­ches,” as The Art Sto­ry describes them, his depic­tions of the human form are con­sid­ered some of the “most remark­able of the 20th cen­tu­ry.”

The details of Schiele’s short life paint the pic­ture of a mod­ernist rock star. He is as famous for his work as for his “licen­tious lifestyle… marked by scan­dal, noto­ri­ety, and a trag­i­cal­ly ear­ly death… at a time when he was on the verge of the com­mer­cial suc­cess that had elud­ed him for much of his career.” In his short life, Mar­tinique notes, Schiele pro­duced “over 400 paint­ings; close to 3,000 water­col­ors and draw­ings; 21 sketch­books; 17 graph­ics; and 4 sculp­tures.”

This incred­i­ble body of work will be made avail­able in full online in a project spear­head­ed by Jane Kallir, co-direc­tor of New York’s Galerie St. Eti­enne, which mount­ed Schiele’s first Amer­i­can solo exhi­bi­tion in 1941 and recent­ly staged a “com­pre­hen­sive sur­vey of the artist’s artis­tic devel­op­ment.” Kallir authored the most recent cat­a­logue raison­né of Schiele’s work, and rather than pub­lish anoth­er print edi­tion, she has decid­ed to put the full cat­a­logue online, under the aus­pices of her research insti­tute.

The project cur­rent­ly “details 419 works and count­ing, with a par­tic­u­lar empha­sis on Schiele’s paint­ings,” reports Meilan Sol­ly at Smith­son­ian. His draw­ings and water­col­ors will be added in 2019. Though it is a pub­lic resource, the online cat­a­logue is designed for schol­ars, who can use it to “trace spe­cif­ic pieces’ prove­nance or debunk the exis­tence of forg­eries.” Kallir con­tin­ues the work of her grand­fa­ther, Otto Kallir, who wrote the first com­plete cat­a­logue of the artist’s work in 1930.

That ear­ly ref­er­ence has proven invalu­able “in the tan­gle court­room dra­ma sur­round­ing the resti­tu­tion of Nazi-loot­ed art.” The cen­te­nary of Schiele’s death on Octo­ber 31, 2018 has brought even more inter­est to his work, and a rise in fakes cir­cu­lat­ing in the art mar­ket. “It is very impor­tant to have a reli­able and read­i­ly acces­si­ble means of iden­ti­fy­ing authen­tic works of art,” Kallir writes in a state­ment. There is no one bet­ter placed than her to cre­ate it.

But while the Kallir Research Institute’s Com­plete Works of Egon Schiele Online offers nec­es­sary infor­ma­tion for cura­tors, art deal­ers, and schol­ars, it is very acces­si­ble to the gen­er­al pub­lic. If you’re new to Schiele, start with a short biog­ra­phy at the site. (Also read The Art Story’s overview and see sev­er­al high-res­o­lu­tion scans of his most famous works at the Art His­to­ry Project). Then click on “Works” to view pho­tos and infor­ma­tion about sketch­books, graph­ics, sculp­tures, and paint­ings.

These lat­ter works show a rad­i­cal devel­op­ment: from the con­ser­v­a­tive, tra­di­tion­al style of his ear­li­est paint­ing, to the heav­i­ly Klimt-influ­enced work of 1908–9, to 1910–18, when he dis­cov­ered and per­fect­ed his own pecu­liar vision.

via Art Net

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Gus­tav Klimt’s Haunt­ing Paint­ings Get Re-Cre­at­ed in Pho­tographs, Fea­tur­ing Live Mod­els, Ornate Props & Real Gold

Explore 7,600 Works of Art by Edvard Munch: They’re Now Dig­i­tized and Free Online

3,900 Pages of Paul Klee’s Per­son­al Note­books Are Now Online, Pre­sent­ing His Bauhaus Teach­ings (1921–1931)

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness.

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