After enjoying the Egon Schiele exhibit I went upstairs at the Leopold for a special exhibition of the art owned by Heidi Horten. Who? You might say. Well Heidi is a billionaire following her marriage to the much older Herr Horten who owned one of the biggest department stores in Austria. When he died she inherited his wealth – she is a billionaire – and invested some of the money into an impressive art collection some of which was on show at the Leopold. As you will see from the artists below she had a fair bit of cash to spend and I think acquired a lot of the art in one go from London auctioneers.
A selection of Chagall, Magritte, Matisse and Freud.
And then a sprinkling of Picasso’s, Warhol and Nara
One of the great things about my visits to Germany and Austria has been the access to more artists from this part of the world. Below is Marc (the deer)| and then a few years later Roy Lichtenstein does a homage to his work in his own style. Below are Pechstein and Jawlensky – I love these works
I’ve been saving the Leopold Art Museum to last. It is in the museum quarter (a very funky area in central Vienna) and is known for its Klimpt paintings but more especially they have an extensive Egon Schiele exhibit on at the moment.
Well this guy had a short but complicated life. He “lived in sin” with Wally, his model muse and girlfriend (who even stood by him when he was charged with molesting children – charges later dropped but he had a few days in custody due to content of his paintings). Then after four years (when of course she being the female was ostracised by society more than he was for their lifestyle) he upped and married Edith who he felt came from a more bourgeois and appropriate background for him to marry in! Anyway it ended badly for all of them. Wally joined the nurses in WW1 and was killed; his wife Edith became pregnant in 1918 but at six months in she contracted the Spanish flu and died and then he caught it and died three days later on what was the day of her funeral. He was just 28.
Looking at this art – which is tortured, dramatic, suggestive, brutal and painful it seems that he must have had some prescience that he would have a short life. He was certainly prolific during his lifetime.
Anyway – first the master of the selfie – way ahead of his time. He liked painting himself!
He had a complex relationship with his mother and also always believed death was in the close background during all our lives as you can see below.
Aside from mothers and death he was – of course – obsessed with Sex and nudity
And just when you think you’ve figured him out he produces some really pleasing pictures of the town Cesky Krumlov – a place he went to often as his mother was born there and also a place I visited back in April this year when I was in the Czech Republic.