It was lovely to catch up with you this morning, the next time we meet it will be your Birthday weekend, and I am really looking forward to it and I expect you are looking forward to it even more.
While I was in Paris, I went to see the Schiele exhibition at the Fondation Louis Vuitton. One of the nice things about going to new places is that you sometimes get to see some amazing things, the Fondation Louis Vitton to the west of Paris on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne is a marvellous piece of architecture. Designed by Frank Gehry, who also designed the Guggenheim in Bilbao, I am a builder and buildings as art never fail to impress me.
That was the free art show, in almost the whole of the basement of the Foundation was the paying Schiele exhibition. I never count but there was an awful lot of Schiele’s work on display. Schiele was perhaps one of the greatest draftsmen the world has known and most of the Schiele exhibitions you get to see are based around his works on paper. This exhibition, as well as the drawings included eleven oil paintings by Schiele, while Schiele’s drawings have a unique style his paintings are not entirely unique. The eleven paintings on view owe much to the secessionist movement and Schiele’s mentor Klimt.
Autumn Sun of 1914 is almost a premonition of the First World War with its Khaki’s browns and greens against a dull sky with a setting sun and a field of poppies evokes the image of the war before the war had actually begun. The architecture of The Bridge is reminiscent of Klimt’s exquisite pattern work, whilst the flattening of the picture space destroys the perspective. Lovers could be a Klimt except for the dullness of the palette and the warlike looking sky in the background. The vision of St Hubert could almost be a pre-Raphaelite painting except for its lack of highly detailed finish, the thin glazing of the paintwork is reminiscent of an unfinished Leonardo or a stained glass window. Krumau on the Vltava is a highly expressive landscape with flattened perspective, at a distance the impression of architecture disappears and the blocks of colour seem far ahead of their time.
The under painting, oil as watercolour wash style continues in Self Portrait with a Model (Fragment) with the work crying out for a second pass and some highlights. Portrait of Trude Engel was the only painting I saw that Schiele didn’t appear to have completed in a single sitting and worked on for some time, but Schiele has retained the washy under painting effect almost as if he was afraid to take the painting to a full blown finish. Trude Engle was so disappointed with the final work that she attacked it with a knife.
Self Portrait with Chinese lantern plant is again a work that could have been done in a single session but the handling of the paint is far heavier and opaque and his use of black in the coat could rival either Velasquez or Manet for bringing life to the colour. The two paintings The Procession and Mother and Death were grouped together, they were both painted around the same time 1911 in the early part of Schiele’s career and it is easy to see the Secessionist patterning here, the highlights, absent from the later paintings and the layering would indicate that these paintings were completed over more than a single session. I was particularly interested in the procession as it is of a group of people and could perhaps be a way of my own sketches escaping the sketchbook.
The final painting Danae from 1909 is the most Secessionist work of all and heavily influenced by Klimt’s Danae. This is the very early part of Schiele’s career he was a Secessionist who developed into an Expressionist.
There is an impatience about Schiele it seems he is satisfied when he has the pattern on the canvas, this is completely true of his drawings and also of the majority of his paintings, Freud would have viewed this easy achievement of gratification in a whole different light than I, once the problem is solved, it no longer holds the attention of the protagonist.
It is testament to the popularity of Klimt and Schiele that so much of their work is readily available on the internet and while this is a great platform for studying art you can’t beat looking at the work in real life.
I have been to several Schiele exhibitions all of which were dominated by the works on paper, the works on paper cross between drawings and paintings and they all have the wow factor. This exhibition was also dominated by the works on paper but by concentrating on the oil paintings on canvas I feel I have learned much more about Klimt, Schiele and the Secession. I can feel a trip to Vienna coming on.
I never learned to ice skate they didn’t have a rink near me when I was small but I will be there as a pretty vocal spectator because I have to deliver your present. See you next weekend.
My love as always
Egon Schiele: Foundation Louis Vuitton. (2018)
Klimt/Schiele: Drawings from the Albertina Museum Vienna: Royal Academy (2018)
Life in Motion: Egon Schiele/ Francesca Woodman: Tate Liverpool (2018)
Egon Schiele: The Radical Nude: Courtauld (2015)
Hore, R. Ed. (2018) Klimt Schiele. Drawings From the Albertina Museum, Vienna. London: Royal Academy of Arts.
Buchhart, D. Ed. (2018) Egon Schiele. Paris: Foundation Louis Vuitton.
Neret, G (2015) Gustav Klimt: The world in Female Form. Koln: Taschen.
Wolf, N. (2009) Symbolism. Koln: Taschen.
Steiner, R. (2017) Egon Schiele: The Miidnight Soul of the Artist. Koln: Taschen.
Virgo, P. &Wright, B. Ed. (2014) Egon Schiele: The Radical nude
Leopold, R. (2005) Egon Schiele: Landscapes. London: Prestel Publishing Ltd..
Kallir, J (2015) Egon Schiele: Drawings and Watercolours. London: Thames and Hudson.
(all accessed on 08/12 2012)