The Drawings of Klimt and Schiele

Michael Prodger at The New Statesman:

Although it was Klimt’s paintings that first impressed Schiele, especially a solo show in 1908, the two men didn’t meet until the following year when they established a strong rapport and exchanged drawings. The role of drawings occupied a different place in the art of each man. The majority of Klimt’s were composed with paintings in mind but he also made private works, often quickly executed, that deviated from the ideal of heady beauty that permeated his paintings. Sketches of his elderly mother or a nude pregnant woman past the first flush of youth shed stylisation for an unflinching intimacy. Sometimes he didn’t bother with limbs, while figures fill the sheet like columns, cropped at the head and feet. Schiele, though, took it all in.

The closeness of the two men lasted until death. Both died in 1918, Klimt at the beginning of the year from pneumonia following a stroke, Schiele at the end of the year, three days after the death of his wife Edith, then six months pregnant, both victims of the global flu pandemic.

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