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The Times on-line (in association with Saatchi Gallery) compiled “The Top 200 Artists of the 20th Century to Now” in order of significance according to 1.5 million participants. The Times said the point of the list was not to agree with but to argue against.

Wally with a Red Blouse, Egon Schiele 1913

Wally with a Red Blouse, Egon Schiele 1913

Frida Kahlo does not merit her top spot of 19. How can this solipsistic painting by-numbers-style recorder of her own misery be placed above Munch [46th], with his otherworldly scream?

Woman with a Black Hat, Egon Schiele 1909

Woman with a Black Hat, Egon Schiele 1909

In Frida Kahlo’s case, the Times should have argued that  no one would know who she was if it weren’t for Diego Rivera (155th.)

Egon Schiele (22nd) was unknown to me but he is more significant than Salvador Dalí (26th) and Georgia O’Keefe (40th) both of whom have numerous postings on this blog.

Schiele was an Austrian painter and protégé of Gustav Klimt, who was 3rd, which annoyed the Times because Andy Warhol (8th) was more influential to the post-modernism movement. I’d argue yes, much of Klimt’s work was decorative, but he was more influential to the Vienna Secession. Remember fin de siècle?

I should devote an entire post to Egon Schiele but I’ve already started this one. He would be annoyed by my saying so as he was brooding and extremely arrogant. He was only 16 years old when he entered the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts in 1906.

A year later Schiele sought out Klimt, who mentored younger artists. Klimt took a particular interest in Schiele’s talents, which helped launch his career. Schiele’s early works are practically imitations of Klimt. I think the Woman with a Black Hat (above right) is Emilie Louise Flöge, Klimt’s lifelong companion.

Two Girls Lying Entwined, Egon Schiele 1915

Two Girls Lying Entwined, Egon Schiele 1915

Schiele left the Academy after three years because it was too conservative. He founded the Neukunstgruppe (“New Art Group”) with other dissatisfied students. Free of constraints, Schiele explored the human form; many found the sexual explicitness of his works to be disturbing if not pornographic.

I think this is as far I’m taking Egon Schiele. Unfortunately, he died at age 28 during the 1918 flu pandemic. 

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NOTE: I have only 20 or so painters and photographers from the the Times Top 200 so there’s plenty of food for fodder for future arguments.

 

 

 

 

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