Leopold Museum Opens Opulent Jubilee Exhibition Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of Egon Schiele’s Death
Juxtaposition of Egon Schiele, Günter Brus and Thomas Palme in the Graphic Cabinet
Commemorating the 100th anniversary of Egon Schiele’s death, the Leopold Museum, which is home to the world’s most comprehensive and eminent collection of works by the exceptional artist, is dedicating a special exhibition to this most prominent exponent of “Austrian Expressionism”: Featuring some 200 objects, including paintings, watercolors, drawings, sketches, letters and photographs, the Jubilee Exhibition is structured into nine thematic emphases of Egon Schiele’s oeuvre and affords insights into his personality through a large number of documentary archival materials. The museum’s comprehensive collection will be on display for almost nine months, though the works on paper are shown in three separate stages for conservational reasons, while select eminent works from international collections enrich the exhibition as “noble guests”.
“No other museum affords the unique opportunity to study the evolution of this ground-breaking artist of the early 20th century by means of such an eminent collection of works – from his very first creations, via the Expressionist phase, which provided the basis for his current renown, all the way to the late oeuvre of this artist who passed away much too soon,” observes Hans-Peter Wipplinger, the Director of the Leopold Museum and curator of the exhibition.
The exhibition begins with the “Self” and the “Ego”, addressing Schiele’s self-portraits and his sensitive experience of the world. The artist created equally radical pictorial compositions on the theme of “Mother and Child” which are testament to Schiele’s continuous and ambivalent exploration of the subject of mother and his obsessive associating with boys and girls. The Jubilee Exhibition places another focus on “Spirituality”, showing the artist as a seeker on a quest for revelation and a renewal of his identity.
“The exponents of Austrian Expressionism (Gerstl, Kokoschka, Schiele) integrated their personalities into their oeuvre and their specific creative work. When creating a work, Egon Schiele was equally concerned with his personal development as with the work itself. He linked a deliberate attempt to make something of himself with a receptive devotion to the organic and intellectual processes he found himself subjected to. We must thank the collector Rudolf Leopold for the fact that, along with the artworks, he also compiled historical photographs, letters and poems by the artist, making it possible for this Jubilee Exhibition to not only present Schiele’s artistic oeuvre but to also give us a sense of the artist’s personality, which provided the basis for his artistic process,” explains Diethard Leopold, the curator of the exhibition.
Two exhibition rooms illustrate Schiele’s relationship with “Women” and his changing depictions of them, whether they were his partners or models. Even in his “Landscapes”, which provide another emphasis in the exhibition, the artist aimed to convey the “soul” of things. “Cityscapes” are a further central theme, especially renderings of the medieval town of Krumau in southern Bohemia, his mother’s birthplace. Finally, the presentation features stylistically multi-faceted and by no means classical “Portraits” executed with great sensitivity.
Juxtaposition of Egon Schiele, Günter Brus and Thomas Palme
The Leopold Museum’s Graphic Cabinet hosts an encounter between three artists united by an obsession with drawing: “The exhibition ‘Dreams of Falling’ brings together three great draftsmen from three different generations who have all made the human body and the social forces affecting it the focus of their artistic explorations,” explains Roman Grabner, the curator of the exhibition.
Both Egon Schiele and Günter Brus, who celebrates his 80th birthday this year, have created a radical and revolutionary main oeuvre within only a few years, which, though it forms the basis of their international renown and recognition today, led to rejection, condemnation and arrest at the time of its creation. Thomas Palme shares their experience of rejection, ostracism and grueling court proceedings, and continues along the lines started by them as their worthy successor.
The opening of the exhibition, which was formally launched by Federal Minister Gernot Blümel, the Directors of the Leopold Museum Hans-Peter Wipplinger and Gabriele Langer as well as the curators Diethard Leopold and Roman Grabner in the presence of the artists Günter Brus and Thomas Palme, was attended by some 1,000 guests, including the member of the Board of Directors of the Leopold Museum Elisabeth Leopold as well as its chairman Helmut Moser, Anna Brus, Christine Gironcoli, Gerda Leopold, the artists Irene Andessner, Waltraut Cooper, Lorenz Estermann, Heidi Harsieber, Martha Jungwirth, Constantin Luser, Lukas Pusch, Walter Vopava, Jun Yang, the Ambassador of Poland Jolanta Róża Kozłowska, the Ambassador of Slovenia Ksenija Škrilec as well as the cultural attaché Barbara Koželj Podlogar, the directors Wolfgang Muchitsch/Joanneum, Christoph Thun-Hohenstein/MAK Museum für angewandte Kunst, Peter Weinhäupl/Klimt Foundation, Tobias G. Natter, Marianne Hussl-Hörmann, Patrick Werkner, the president of the Secession Herwig Kempinger, the gallery owners Heike Curtze, Ursula Krinzinger and Philipp Konzett, the legendary ORF reporter Friedrich Ortner, Klimt descendant Gustav Huber, filmmaker Georg Riha, architect Markus Spiegelfeld, Sylvie Aigner, Martin and Deborah Bene, Gernot Dolezal, Christa Mayrhofer-Dukor, Heinz Neumann, Ernst Ploil, Regina Ploner, Anton Schmölzer, Lothar Tirala, and many others.