Posts Tagged ‘Egon Schiele’

Before we look at #6 in this series of still life studies, let’s first take some time to wallow in the concept of “incompletion.”  We’ve just encountered this concept in all of these five studies and, going back a few months, you recall, we looked at a series of drawings based on Gainsborough, also in the context of incompletion:


Now, here’s a drawing by the Austrian artist Egon Schiele (1890-1918), a superb and prolific draftsman.

The shoulder and bodice are left incomplete. We can be sure that he left the drawing “incomplete” on purpose. He was part of the avant-garde, called Sezession, in Vienna at the turn of that century.  This feeling of incompletion is central to the modern sensibility, which comes out of romanticism.

If you’re yawning at this point, I thank you, because it means that you GET modernism. No need to dissect its concepts.

So then, why bring this up?  I bring it up because students inevitably admire incompletion in famous artist’s work, finding the incompletion energetic and engaging, but they dismiss their own work because, well, “it’s not finished.”

Why do you admire a quality in a famous drawing, but reject the same quality in your own drawing.  Are you willing to look at this?  Yes, you are.

Egon Schiele’s,  Mädchenporträt (Hilde Ziegler), about 18” high. Dated 1918, the year he died in the influenza pandemic.  Recently discovered, it sold at auction in Vienna’s im Kinsky, 2012, for $304,000.







All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.





Read Full Post »

15SunflowerThey tend to droop and get weighed down by lunching squirrels. I cut down the tallest sunflower in my garden and brought it to drawing class. As a still life subject the tired sunflower offers lots of issues to work on: negative space, dynamic composition and the opportunity to practice energetic markmaking. But the greatest of these, hmm, is the problem of wanting to draw a flower as a flower, meaning pleasing and pretty. It’s a glorious, assertive flower. But, alas, it’s dying.
The glorious and assertive, but dying VanGoghSunflowers2sunflower must have touched a nerve in Van Gogh. He painted it, many times, in all its raggedness and made it famous. You can’t go to the farmers market in early fall and  not sigh ah-look-so-Van Gogh.
Twenty years later, Egon Schiele also fell for its decadent charm, celebrating decay even more than Vincent had done.  EgonSchieleSunflowers1
EgonSchieleSunflowers2The two decades bracketing the year 1900 brought great cultural change. The 19th century was giving way to the inventions of modernism in every field you can think of, in the sciences and the arts. It was an exciting time to be alive and alert.
In Van Gogh’s Sunflowers we see the decaying half of the change.

In Schiele’s Sunflowers we see vitality and strength, in the midst of decay.

One student in the drawing class worked in a technique that held maximum potential to convey the dynamism of the dying sunflower. It’s a difficult subject, technically and emotionally.

Drawing by Elizabeth Mendoza, China Marker on gloss paper, 14 x 11
Vincent VanGogh, 1853-1890
Egon Schiele, 1880-1918
StillLifeSunflower2All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »