|Death & Man, Egon style
At the Leopold, the exhibit is based on postcards found in the closets and drawers of Emilie Floge, his long-term companion. I have to say, Klimt's people were a lot better at hiding scandal than were Egon Schiele's. Klimt basically had affairs and/or impregnated all of his models (several of his bastard kids ended up being named Gustav, after their randy daddy), but if there were any epistolary references to these torrid affairs, they were well hidden (burned).
Instead of declarations of love (or lust) the postcards are full of banal musings, such as: After breakfast, which I ate at 9, I painted a beech tree. Yawn.
Now, Klimt was one hell of an artist, but he just wasn't as interesting a person as that other dude--the young, crazed poster child for suffering, Egon Schiele. Egon, who admittedly died too young (28) to carry on decades of scandal, was sort of the inverse of his rival. Whereas Klimt was a generalist-and popular with collectors who liked a little Austrian sentimentality with their nudes, Schiele's work was deeply, profoundly personal. Take the brilliant Cardinal and Nun, for instance (Caress). Shame and sacred side-by-side. It's been called a paraphrase of The Kiss, Schiele's version of ecstasy. Now that's the real Austrian theme!
My favorite take-away from my non-Sisi day was the commentary on Self Seer, Schiele's Death and Man piece. It's an illustration of Rilke's notion that: "one carries one's death around like a fruit the stone." Love that!
So, what kind of fruit are you?