Interesting article. I recently went to the Schiele/Klimt exhibition at the Royal Academy in London.
The passage of time tends to either confirm the supposed transgressions of historical figures, or absolve them thereof. But Egon Schiele, whose centenary is being celebrated at museums across the world, presents a particular lens throughwhich to think about the line between art and exploitation.
Egon Schiele first began hosting teenage girls at his studio in Neulengbach, Austria, around 1910. About thirty miles from Vienna, he had a small painting studio with a garden out back. Boys and girls, often from poorer socioeconomic backgrounds, would come spend time there with him and his model-slash-lover Walburga Neuzil, whom he called Wally. Schiele was only twenty at the time. Wally was seventeen. The age of consent in Austria was fourteen (as it is today), and their relationship wasn’t much of a scandal. What was a scandal was Schiele’s painting the children and teenagers who came by his studio and, as would be…
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