The Wider, Not Wilder, Egon Schiele

Ken Johnson in the New York Times:

EgoThe Viennese Expressionist Egon Schiele (1890-1918) had only two urgent interests: himself and his sexual fantasies. Out of such limited preoccupations and by means of a preternatural gift for drawing and graphic design, he created artworks that still burn with narcissistic yearning, erotic desire, bohemian dissent and existential anxiety.

Since the revival in the early 1970’s of his dormant reputation, he has been esteemed by fine-art lovers as one of the 20th century’s great draftsmen and he has been a romantic hero to generations of young people raised on sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll who would not know a Monet from a Manet.

Schiele did other things besides self-portraits and sexy pictures of young women. He made wonderful portraits of friends, relatives and lovers, painted gloomy landscapes in an amalgam of Modernist and medieval styles, and concocted lugubrious, overwrought allegories of life, love and death. But were it not for the self-portraits and erotic pictures on paper, his name would be forgotten today.

More here.