Egon Schiele is one of the most renowned expressionist and figurative artists of the early 20th century. In 1907 Schiele became an apprentice of the famous symbolist artist Gustav Klimt. In 1909 Schiele left the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Vienna due to his frustration with the school’s conservative style of teaching. Schiele became well known for his explicit and emotionally expressive works, particularly his self portraits, often using a black outline and a limited use of color. An example is Seated Woman With Bent Knee made with crayon, gouache and watercolor on paper. Schiele’s way of tackling the human form and sexuality was unprecedented and provocative at the time. On October 31st 1918 he fell victim of the Spanish flu. He became 28 years old. During his short lifetime he produced 330 oil paintings and over 3000 works on paper, mainly watercolors. In 2014 a drawing by Schiele sold for 436 000 USD at Dorotheum.
The year 1918 brought many changes to Austria: the First World War came to an end and with it many centuries of rule by the Habsburg monarchy. Vienna also had to say goodbye to four artists, who had up until then shaped the art scene of the metropolis.