I took off this past week to travel to Vienna for my birthday and, while there, stopped at the Leopold Museum to check out an inspiring exhibit focusing around artist Egon Schiele. For those of you who are not familiar with Schiele, a brief history lesson: He was a key member of the Vienna Secession Art movement in the early 1900s and is known for his expressionistic (and sexual) paintings and illustrations. The exhibition focused on the relationship between Schiele and Wally Neuzil, his muse and lover. The story of Egon and Wally has a pretty tragic ending. Egon left Wally out of pressure to marry a woman of higher class. Both died early. Schiele succumbed to Spanish flue at age 28, three days after his pregnant wife died. Wally died of scarlet fever while serving as a nurse in Croatia.
A portrait Wally Neuzil by Egon Schiele
Honestly, there was a bit too much vag for me at the exhibit (had Schiele lived a bit longer, maybe he would have moved away from his obsession with artistic porn…who knows!). However, I did feel better about this exhibit than the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibits I’ve seen… he often painted dejected looking circus boys sitting on the laps of old men. But most of Schiele’s illustrations were expressively and skillfully done, and displayed a very playful side as well.