The treasury: Egon Schiele. Nude!

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In our “Treasury” you can find an annually changing choice of art works by the exceptional artist.

Egon Schiele. Nude!

The 2024 season is dedicated to nudity in the work of Egon Schiele. This topic describes the revolutionary power of the master’s oeuvre like no other. Radical nudity not only broke a significant taboo, it also offered a way of rediscovering the human body, and thus humanity itself. It was an act of liberation from inhibitions about exposure, from stereotypical sexualisation and idealisation. It explored libidinous, vulnerable, out of-its-depth humanity, broke down gender boundaries, and ultimately put the focus on the uniqueness and unmistakability of the individual.

All works in the exhibition are from a major private collection that picks up on this pivotal topic. Many of the works have been on show just once before, which makes this exhibition even more special. None of the works has been showcased in Tulln before.

Over the course of his career, Schiele sounded out various dimensions of nudity. The focus is not always on sexuality; nudity is normal, without a hint of titillation. With many new lines of vision, perspectives, picture details, movements and formal experiments, this topic is almost inexhaustible.

Nude self-portraits are essential for Schiele’s work. They allowed the artist to explore his own sensitivity, but also the manifold appearances of his self in various roles and mental states. In his nude self-portraits, he often smudged his own features to such an extent that the boundary between portrait and pan-individual general depiction becomes blurred, as blurred as the gender boundaries in his own vision of himself. Schiele was driven by a love of role play, by a constant switching between truthfulness and theatrical show. Both aspects are so closely linked that they become one in his wonderful works.

The show in the Treasure Chamber is an addition to the Egon Schiele Museum exhibition on Erwin Osen, who introduced his artist friend to nudity as a teenager. Schiele’s fascination with the 18-year-old Osen inspired him to paint key art works of the 20th century. Examples of Erwin Osen’s work – some of them never shown before – supplement the museum’s “Egon Schiele. Nude!” exhibition in a separate special exhibition space on the first floor.

Recommended visiting time:  15 minutes

Illustration: (c) Detail, Egon Schiele, Mädchenakt gegen farbiges Tuch, 1911, Gouache auf Papier, Privatbesitz

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