Egon Schiele

Jenny Saville



Biography Egon Schiele

Egon Schiele

Egon Leo Adolf Schiele, the third of four children and the only surviving son, is born on 12 June in the LowerAustrian town of Tulln on the Danube. His father, Adolf Eugen Schiele (1850–1905), is the stationmaster. His mother is Marie Schiele, nee Soukup (1862–1935). Schiele’s father suffers from syphilis. Untreated, it casts a shadow on his marriage and family life.
Birth of Schiele’s younger sister Gertrude (‘Gerti’), later to become a favourite model in Schiele’s early work.
Death of Schiele’s father. Schiele paints his first self-portrait, a subject that will preoccupy him for the rest of his life.
In October, Schiele, a weak student at school, passes the entrance exam to the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna. He soon seeks out Gustav Klimt (1862–1918), who becomes his artistic role model and spiritual father figure. Schiele moves into his own studio in Vienna.
Schiele participates in his first public exhibition, in the Kaisersaal (Emperor’s Hall) of the convent of Klosterneuberg, where he attended high school.
At Klimt’s invitation, Schiele participates in the Internationale Kunstschau (International Art Exhibition) in Vienna, submitting four paintings that show a clear stylistic similarity to Klimt’s work. Schiele meets Josef Hoffmann (1870–1956), who soon puts him in contact with the Wiener Werkstätte.
As a result of fundamental and growing differences of opinion with his conservative painting teacher, Christian Griepenkerl (1838–1916), Schiele leaves the Academy. In the summer he joins forces with like-minded fellow artists to establish the Neukunstgruppe (New Art Group), which develops its own Austrian version of Colour Expressionism.
The Neukunstgruppe’s first exhibition is held in December, at the Kunstsalon Pisko in Vienna. It gains the attention of, among others, the art critic Arthur Roessler (1877–1955), and the collectors Carl Reininghaus (1857–1929) and Oskar Reichel (1869–1941), who become Schiele’s patrons. Schiele seeks the acquaintance of Max Oppenheimer (1885–1954).
A deep friendship develops between the two artists, who work side by side for several months and pose for each other. Schiele writes his first expressionist prose poems.
Schiele distances himself artistically from Klimt and develops his own independent and strongly expressive style, which is met with a general lack of understanding. Schiele’s friend Erwin Dominik Osen (1891–1970), a theatrical scene painter and mime, comes to influence Schiele’s work through the expressive gestures of his dance and theatre performances.
The Brüder Rosenbaum publishing house brings out an essay entitled ‘Egon Schiele – An Attempt at an Introduction’ by Albert Paris von Gutersloh (1887–1973), a friend of Schiele’s from the Academy; it is the first monograph on Schiele. From April to May, the Galerie Miethke in Vienna mounts Schiele’s first significant solo exhibition; however, its success is modest. Roessler introduces Schiele to the Munich-based art dealer Hans Goltz (1873–1927), who represents him for several years in Germany and who helps to arrange further exhibitions for him.
Schiele meets – probably through Klimt – the model Walburga (‘Wally’) Neuzil (1894–1917) and moves with her to the southern Bohemian town of Crumlaw, his mother’s birthplace. This is the beginning of a productive period for the artist, but the local population disapproves of the couple’s loose lifestyle. As a result, they move to the town of Neulengbach, west of Vienna.
Schiele is charged with allegedly seducing a minor. The complaint proves groundless, but he is sentenced to three days in jail for disseminating indecent drawings. He serves his sentence after having already served 21 days on remand. At the same time, 100 of his drawings are judged to be obscene and are confiscated. This traumatic incident brings to a close an extremely creative phase, and he and Wally move back to Vienna, where he participates in important exhibitions, and visits Carinthia and Trieste, Munich, Lindau and Bregenz. It is not clear whether he made a short trip to Zurich.
The Museum Folkwang in Hagen acquires the painting Dead City (1912), the first work by Schiele bought by a public collection. Today the painting is in the collection of the Kunsthaus Zürich.
Schiele is made a member of the Bund Österreichischer Künstler (Federation of Austrian Artists), under the chairmanship of Gustav Klimt. He participates in the Munich Secession’s spring exhibition, and his work subsequently appears in exhibitions in Munich, in Berlin, in Dusseldorf, and in Vienna. He becomes a contributor to the Berlin magazine Die Aktion, where he publishes drawings and poems. In 1916, the entire issue 35/36 is dedicated to his work.
Schiele’s work is shown in Rome, Brussels and Paris, enabling him to reach a public beyond the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Germany for the first time; yet these exhibitions bring him nothing more than critical success.
In March and April the painter and printmaker Robert Philippi (1877–1959) gives him lessons in woodcut printing and etching. Working with the photographers Anton Josef Trcka (1893–1940) and Johannes Fischer (1880–1955), Schiele creates a series of highly individual portrait photographs, which can be seen as a formal extension of his painted self-portraits.
Early in the year, the Galerie Guido Arnot in Vienna exhibits a selection of 16 of Schiele’s most important oil paintings, as well as several watercolours and drawings. The Kunsthaus Zürich also shows some of his watercolours and drawings as part of a group exhibition, after its director Wilhelm Wartmann’s original idea of a solo exhibition falls through.
In a wartime wedding held on 17 June, Schiele marries Edith Harms (1893–1918), whom he had met the previous year in Vienna. Four days later, he is sent to Prague on military service.
In January and February, Schiele has the opportunity to participate in the Wiener Kunstschau (Viennese Art Exhibition) at the Berliner Secession, a very important event for him. He sends the show his oil paintings Death and Maiden and Mother with Two Children III, along with some works on paper.
Schiele returns to Vienna in January. He is able to participate in the Kriegsausstellung (War Exhibition) in Vienna, as well as in the Munich Secession and in exhibitions in Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm. The Richard Lanyi bookshop publishes the first portfolio of original-size collotypes of Schiele’s drawings and watercolours, which increases his popularity.
In March, Schiele’s works are exhibited in the main hall of the Vienna Secession; the exhibition is the most important one for him to date, rewarding him with his first notable success, both artistic and financial. An array of commissions for portraits, illustrations in journals, prints and even theatre scenery follow.
In spring he is transferred to the Kaiserliches-und-königliches-Heeresmuseum (Imperial and Royal Army Museum), where his military duties allow him significantly more time to work on his art. From May to June the highly successful exhibition Ein Jahrhundert Wiener Malerei (A Century of Viennese Painting) is held at the Kunsthaus Zürich, and includes four paintings and numerous works on paper by Schiele. Schiele had tried and failed to bring the Vienna Secession’s 49th exhibition to Zurich. His financial success enables him to rent a second, larger studio. He intends to found an art school in the old studio.
In October, Edith, then six months pregnant, is taken ill with the Spanish flu and dies on 28 October. Schiele contracts the disease and dies three days later on 31 October, at the age of twenty-eight.
Biography Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville is born in Cambridge, England. Early on, her mother clears out a walk-in cupboard that becomes her first artistic retreat. Summer 1987 and 1988 Travels throughout Europe, Turkey and Syria.
Attends the Glasgow School of Art.
First public presentation of works in the exhibition Self-Portraits at the Burrell Collection, Glasgow. Her works are shown in the exhibition British Portrait Competition at the National Portrait Gallery in London. She is awarded the British Institute Award for Painting by the Royal Academy.
Exhibits in Contemporary ’90 at the Royal College of Art, London, along with Peter Doig, Cecily Brown.
Saville receives a scholarship to attend the University of Cincinnati in Ohio, where lectures on women’s studies deepen her interest in the subject. At the same time, she participates in discussions on the current status of painting and contemplates abandoning it in order to spend more time on photography and installations, an idea that she later rejects. She experiments with using her own body as subject matter, photographing it pressed against Perspex. During a photo shoot for British Vogue she meets the renowned English fashion photographer Glen Luchford. The two decide to continue working on these photographic experiments together. In late 1995 Saville takes a studio in Wharf Road, London, and works between London and New York. Flesh & Blood is released, a documentary about her work directed by Nicola Black.
Saville receives the Newberry Medal and the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Award. Clare Henry includes her work in the exhibition Critic’s Choice at the Cooling Gallery in London, where Charles Saatchi sees the painting Branded. The Times Saturday Review puts her painting Propped on the cover. Saatchi begins to track down her works that had already sold from her thesis exhibition. He offers her an eighteen-month contract and commissions a group of works that he will show in his gallery in 1994.
Saville receives the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Award for the second time.
The exhibition Young British Artists III opens at the Saatchi Gallery in London. It is the first time that Saville participates in a group exhibition. Her contract with Saatchi is renewed for three years. The young band Manic Street Preachers approaches her to use her artwork Strategy (1993–94) for the cover of their album The Holy Bible. She is awarded the Lord Provost Prize for Contemporary Art, Glasgow. Saville meets David Sylvester, with whom she begins an animated discussion about art, leading to joint visits to exhibitions. Collectors Susan Kasen Summer and Robert D. Summer invite her to be artist in residence for six months, then nine months, in rural Connecticut. During this time, she becomes interested in plastic surgery and watches Barry Weintraub operating.
The collaborative project is shown at the Pace MacGill Gallery in New York as Jenny Saville and Glen Luchford: A Collaboration . She further explores anatomy at the Hunterian Museum, London, and the Royal College of Surgeons, where she observes surgical procedures. A retired plastic surgeon leaves her his archives as a gift. She begins working on the paintings Shift and Hybrid for the Sensation show and new works – including Hyphen, Fulcrum and Ruben’s Flap – that are shown three years later in the exhibition Territories at the Gagosian Gallery, New York.
Sensation, a controversial exhibition of Charles Saatchi’s collection at the Royal Academy in London, includes works by Saville, Damien Hirst, Chris Ofili, Tracey Emin and other ‘young British artists’. Saville meets Larry Gagosian at the opening dinner, who invites her to exhibit in New York. The Gagosian Gallery starts to exclusively represent her work. Sensation travels to the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin.
Saville’s Closed Contact series of photographs features in the documentary film Vile Bodies, which introduces other contemporary photographers, including Sally Mann, Andres Serrano, John Coplans and Joel-Peter Witkin. The series inspires the exhibition The Ugly Show at the Bracknell Arts Centre in Leeds. This includes photographs by Saville.
Sensation is shown at the Brooklyn Museum, New York. In the same week, Saville’s first solo exhibition in the United States, Jenny Saville: Territories, opens at the Gagosian Gallery, New York. Works exhibited include Fulcrum, Ruben's Flap and Hyphen. Saville receives the U.S. Art Critic’s Prize for Best Show in a Commercial Gallery.
The Gagosian Gallery in Los Angeles shows the entire series of the Closed Contact Photographs . Fulcrum, Hyphen and Host are included in Ant Noises at the Saatchi Gallery, London.
In spring the Migrants show opens at the Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea, New York, and in June she is included in the painting show Pittura 1964–2003: Da Rauschenberg a Murakami at the Museo Correr, on the occasion of the 50th Biennale di Venezia. Saville lives alternately in London and Palermo, where she creates works such as Stare , Red Stare Head IV , Red Stare Collage and Rosetta II .
Saville’s first solo museum exhibition opens at the MACRO – Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rome.
The exhibition Damien Hirst, David Salle, Jenny Saville: The Bilotti Chapel is shown at the Museo Carlo Bilotti, Aranceria di Villa Borghese, Rome.
Birth of her son. Saville is elected a Royal Academician, the youngest to date. The Kunstmuseum Luzern mounts an exhibition around the theme of the body, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Jenny Saville and Dan Flavin .
Birth of her daughter.
Returns to England, settling in Oxford. Begins work on the Reproduction Drawings , which make reference to Leonardo da Vinci’s cartoon The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne and St. John the Baptist at the National Gallery, London.
First solo exhibition in London at the Gagosian Gallery with large-format works on paper exploring the theme of motherhood, created in 2009.
The solo show Continuum opens at the Gagosian Gallery, New York. The Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach organises Saville’s first American museum exhibition, which travels on to Modern Art Oxford. Concurrently, two of her works are integrated into the Renaissance Galleries at the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology.
Jenny Saville – Oxyrhynchus opens at the Gagosian Gallery, London, showing her most recent work. The Kunsthaus Zürich places the work of Egon Schiele and Jenny Saville in visual dialogue.


The Kunsthaus Zürich is the first museum to exhibit the work of Egon Schiele (1890–1918) together with paintings by the contemporary British artist Jenny Saville (b. 1970). This is an encounter between two artistic positions, separated by a century, that both engage intensively with the physical. Over 100 paintings and drawings are on show.

While previous exhibitions have mostly placed Egon Schiele in his historical context, here the aim is to explore similarities and distinctions between his work and that of a contemporary painter. Schiele’s works are presented in a loose chronological sequence within the exhibition, while Saville’s paintings appear in singled out interaction and sometimes in small groups of works or motifs. Each position visibly retains its autonomy. By creating a spacious hanging with formats of vastly differing sizes and rejecting any arrangement based on explicit pairings, curator Oliver Wick sets out to challenge viewers’ perceptions.

The ‘embodiment’ of painting

The visitor is immediately struck by unembellished physicality, artistically illuminated with an explicitness that frequently engenders a sense of inhibition and even, on occasion, downright physical awkwardness in the viewer. Often the exaggerated corporeality – opulent flesh in Saville, gaunt affliction in Schiele – is expressed through the experience of the artist’s own body and in combination with their own self-image. In an oeuvre spanning slightly less than a decade, Schiele repeatedly returns to the self-portrait, sometimes as nude. Likewise Saville, whose paintings almost always depict the female form, works with models and her own body. Yet her creative process interposes a layer of mediation. She does not paint live in front of a model, but rather from photographs made earlier, combined with numerous other sources of imagery. In the works of both artists, this structuring of the physical – further accentuated in Schiele by the pose and the expression – is characterized by the choice of extreme perspectives, in most cases a deliberately low angle, and an intentional ‘placelessness’. Both demonstratively interrogate the conventions of perception. The depiction of physicality and gender is unremittingly direct. For all its apparent expressionism, what we have here is not a spontaneous act of self-externalization, but rather a meticulously planned painting that, in Schiele, expresses itself in a specific addressing of the viewer achieved through structuring of the gaze and exaggerated self-representation. Saville deploys similarly appellatory strategies; unlike Schiele, however, she primarily uses the large format in an effort to overwhelm and enfold the viewer. Her goal is a painting in which paint behaves like flesh and the sense of the physical is translated into materiality and tactility – an embodiment of painting. Although Schiele too employs a precisely modelled, even plastic chromatic structure, for him line and contour continue to guide his artistic perception. Schiele and Saville share a hermetic self-containedness that eschews narrative content and thus emphasizes the ineluctability of the physical.

Celebrated masterpieces and a new work

Jenny Saville’s paintings should be understood as a process that pushes painting to its limits. As she works, she constantly reviews and reconfigures her many sources, capturing the state of becoming in a way that reaches beyond the human body to depict the essence of painting itself. A graduate of the Glasgow School of Art, Saville achieved her international breakthrough with a solo show at the Saatchi Gallery in 1994. In all, 16 of her paintings -among them a new work- and a number of large-size studies that deal with texture and materiality will be exhibited alongside the Schieles. Despite their usually small format, the 35 paintings and 55 works on paper by Schiele create an impact that is every bit the equal of Saville’s giant creations. Grouped together in selected themes, they reveal an artistic intensity that does not shy away from extremes.

Rarely loaned works

The exhibition features some works that have seldom been lent out before. The Leopold Museum in Vienna has exceptionally agreed to loan Egon Schiele’s ‘Self-Portrait with Chinese Lantern Plant’ and the ‘Portrait of Wally Neuzil’ – his companion for many years – which accompanies it. We are also grateful to the Belvedere, Vienna, for permitting Schiele’s seminal ‘Death and Maiden’ to travel outside Austria for the first time in more than 25 years. The works by Saville come from private collections in Europe and the US.

Schiele and Zurich

Using documents from the museum archive, the exhibition also sheds light for the first time on Egon Schiele’s close ties to the Kunsthaus Zürich. In 1915, at the height of World War One, the Kunsthaus’s then director Wilhelm Wartmann attempted to organize a solo show that would have been among Schiele’s first museum exhibitions. Schiele profiled himself as an artist-curator dedicated to promoting the young art of his time, the ‘most extreme’, and whose primary aim was to ‘make people see’. His preserved letters and additional source material are providing new insights into his work.

Supported by the art insurer Nationale Suisse, other patrons and our sponsoring paint supplier Farrow & Ball.



Translating the visual power of this juxtaposition of Egon Schiele and Jenny Saville into book form, the exhibition catalogue is being published in an especially large format. It contains texts by Oskar Bätschmann, Maria Becker, Martin Harrison, Diethard Leopold, Helena Pereña, Franz Smola and Oliver Wick. The catalogue (hardcover, 176 pages with some 160 illustrations) is published in German and English by Hatje Cantz. It is available from the Kunsthaus shop or bookstores (ISBN 978-3-906574-95-0).


Zürcher Kunstgesellschaft
CH-8024 Zürich

Texts: Oliver Wick
Editors: Kristin Steiner, Esther Braun
Layout and realisation: Crafft Kommunikation AG

Citation should include mention of source.
© Kunsthaus Zürich 2014

Art Education


A multilingual audioguide is included in the price of admission, enabling visitors to explore the topic on their own

Guided tours

Public guided tours in German, at 6 p.m. on Wednesdays, 3 p.m. on Fridays and 11 a.m. on Sundays.
Guided tours in English will take place on Saturday, 1 November and Sunday, 23 November at 1 p.m.
We will be pleased to organize private guided tours on request (tel. +41 (0)44 253 84 84, Mon–Fri 9 a.m.–midday).



Around 1900, Vienna was a centre of the avant-garde in art, literature and music. Along with his pupils Anton Webern and Alban Berg, Arnold Schönberg – also a painter himself – revolutionized Western music; yet his waltzes stand within the Viennese waltz tradition.

The Zurich Chamber Orchestra makes a guest appearance at the Kunsthaus at 11 a.m. on Sunday, 30 November. Tickets available from


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Public holidays: see

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