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Past Exhibitions

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 11, 2017 - October 13, 2017


The Woman Question

Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka

March 14, 2017 - June 30, 2017


You Say You Want a Revolution

American Artists and the Communist Party

October 18, 2016 - March 4, 2017


Recent Acquisitions

July 12, 2016 - October 7, 2016


Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Featuring Watercolors and Drawings from the Robert Lehman Collection

March 29, 2016 - July 1, 2016


Paula Modersohn-Becker

Art and Life

November 3, 2015 - March 19, 2016


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 21, 2015 - October 16, 2015


Leonard Baskin

Wunderkammer

April 23, 2015 - July 2, 2015


Alternate Histories

Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Galerie St. Etienne

January 15, 2015 - April 11, 2015


Marie-Louise Motesiczky

The Mother Paintings

October 7, 2014 - December 24, 2014


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 15, 2014 - September 26, 2014


Ilija/Mangelos

Father & Son, Inside & Out

April 24, 2014 - July 3, 2014


Modern Furies

The Lessons and Legacy of World War I

January 21, 2014 - April 12, 2014


Käthe Kollwitz

The Complete Print Cycles

October 8, 2013 - December 28, 2013


Recent Acquisitions

And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market

July 9, 2013 - September 27, 2013


Face Time

Self and Identity in Expressionist Portraiture

April 9, 2013 - June 28, 2013


Story Lines

Tracing the Narrative of "Outsider" Art

January 15, 2013 - March 30, 2013


Egon Schiele's Women

October 23, 2012 - December 28, 2012


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 17, 2012 - October 13, 2012


Mad As Hell!

New Work (and Some Classics) by Sue Coe

April 17, 2012 - July 3, 2012


The Ins and Outs of Self-Taught Art

Reflections on a Shifting Field

January 10, 2012 - April 7, 2012


The Lady and the Tramp

Images of Women in Austrian and German Art

October 11, 2011 - December 30, 2011


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 5, 2011 - September 30, 2011


Decadence & Decay

Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, George Grosz

April 12, 2011 - June 24, 2011


Self-Taught Painters in American 1800-1950

Revisiting the Tradition

January 11, 2011 - April 2, 2011


Marie-Louise Motesiczky

Paradise Lost & Found

October 12, 2010 - December 30, 2010


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 13, 2010 - October 1, 2010


Käthe Kollwitz

A Portrait of the Artist

April 13, 2010 - June 25, 2010


Seventy Years Grandma Moses

A Loan Exhibition Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Artist's "Discovery"

February 3, 2010 - April 3, 2010


Egon Schiele as Printmaker

A Loan Exhibition Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Galerie St. Etienne

November 3, 2009 - January 23, 2010


From Brücke To Bauhaus

The Meanings of Modernity in Germany, 1905-1933

March 31, 2009 - June 26, 2009


They Taught Themselves

American Self-Taught Painters Between the World Wars

January 9, 2009 - March 14, 2009


Elephants We Must Never Forget

New Paintings Drawings and Prints by Sue Coe

October 14, 2008 - December 20, 2008


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 24, 2008 - September 26, 2008


Hope or Menace?

Communism in Germany Between the World Wars

March 25, 2008 - June 13, 2008


Transforming Reality

Pattern and Design in Modern and Self-Taught Art

January 15, 2008 - March 8, 2008


Leonard Baskin

Proofs and Process

October 9, 2007 - January 5, 2008


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 5, 2007 - September 28, 2007


Who Paid the Piper?

The Art of Patronage in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna

March 8, 2007 - May 26, 2007


Fairy Tale, Myth and Fantasy

Approaches to Spirituality in Art

December 7, 2006 - February 3, 2007


More Than Coffee was Served

Café Culture in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna and Weimar Germany

September 19, 2006 - November 25, 2006


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 6, 2006 - September 8, 2006


Parallel Visions II

"Outsider" and "Insider" Art Today

April 5, 2006 - May 26, 2006


Ilija!

His First American Exhibtion

January 17, 2006 - March 18, 2006


Coming of Age

Egon Schiele and the Modernist Culture of Youth

November 15, 2005 - January 7, 2006


Sue Coe:

Sheep of Fools

September 20, 2005 - November 5, 2005


Recent Acquisitions

And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market

June 7, 2005 - September 9, 2005


Every Picture Tells a Story

The Narrative Impulse in Modern and Contemporary Art

April 5, 2005 - May 27, 2005


65th Anniversary Exhibition, Part II

Self-Taught Artists

January 18, 2005 - March 26, 2005


65th Anniversary Exhibition, Part I

Austrian and German Expressionism

October 28, 2004 - January 8, 2005


Sue Coe: Bully: Master of the Global Merry-Go-Round and Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 8, 2004 - October 16, 2004


Animals & Us

The Animal in Contemporary Art

April 1, 2004 - May 22, 2004


Henry Darger

Art and Myth

January 15, 2004 - March 20, 2004


Body and Soul

Expressionism and the Human Figure

October 7, 2003 - January 3, 2004


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 24, 2003 - September 12, 2003


In Search of the "Total Artwork"

Viennese Art and Design 1897–1932

April 8, 2003 - June 14, 2003


Russia's Self-Taught Artists

A New Perspective on the "Outsider"

January 14, 2003 - March 29, 2003


Käthe Kollwitz:

Master Printmaker

October 1, 2002 - January 4, 2003


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 25, 2002 - September 20, 2002


Workers of the World

Modern Images of Labor

April 2, 2002 - June 15, 2002


Grandma Moses

Reflections of America

January 15, 2002 - March 16, 2002


Gustav Klimt/Egon Schiele/Oskar Kokoscha

From Art Nouveau to Expressionism

November 23, 2001 - January 5, 2002


The "Black-and-White" Show

Expressionist Graphics in Austria & Germany

September 20, 2001 - November 10, 2001


Recent Acquisitions (And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 26, 2001 - September 7, 2001


Art with an Agenda

Politics, Persuasion, Illustration and Decoration

April 10, 2001 - June 16, 2001


"Our Beautiful and Tormented Austria!": Art Brut in the Land of Freud

January 18, 2001 - March 17, 2001


The Tragedy of War

November 16, 2000 - January 6, 2001


The Expressionist City

September 19, 2000 - November 4, 2000


Recent Acquisitions (And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 20, 2000 - September 8, 2000


From Façade to Psyche

Turn-of-the-Century Portraiture in Austria & Germany

March 28, 2000 - June 10, 2000


European Self-Taught Art

Brut or Naive?

January 18, 2000 - March 11, 2000


Saved From Europe

In Commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of the Galerie St. Etienne

November 6, 1999 - January 8, 2000


The Modern Child

(Images of Children in Twentieth-Century Art)

September 14, 1999 - November 6, 1999


Recent Acquisitions

(And a Look at Sixty Years of Art Dealing)

June 15, 1999 - September 3, 1999


Sue Coe: The Pit

The Tragical Tale of the Rise and Fall of a Vivisector

March 30, 1999 - June 5, 1999


Henry Darger and His Realms

January 14, 1999 - March 13, 1999


Becoming Käthe Kollwitz

An Artist and Her Influences

November 17, 1998 - December 31, 1998


George Grosz - Elfriede Lohse-Wächtler

Art & Gender in Weimar Germany

September 23, 1998 - November 11, 1998


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts About Looted Art)

June 9, 1998 - September 11, 1998


Taboo

Repression and Revolt in Modern Art

March 26, 1998 - May 30, 1998


Sacred & Profane

Michel Nedjar and Expressionist Primitivism

January 13, 1998 - March 14, 1998


Egon Schiele (1890-1918)

Master Draughtsman

November 18, 1997 - January 3, 1998


The New Objectivity

Realism in Weimar-Era Germany

September 16, 1997 - November 8, 1997


Recent Acquisitions

A Question of Quality

June 10, 1997 - September 5, 1997


Käthe Kollwitz - Lea Grundig

Two German Women & The Art of Protest

March 25, 1997 - May 31, 1997


That Way Madness Lies

Expressionism and the Art of Gugging

January 14, 1997 - March 15, 1997


The Viennese Line

Art and Design Circa 1900

November 18, 1996 - January 4, 1997


Emil Nolde - Christian Rohlfs

Two German Expressionist Masters

September 24, 1996 - November 9, 1996


Breaking All The Rules

Art in Transition

June 11, 1996 - September 6, 1996


Sue Coe's Ship of Fools

March 26, 1996 - May 24, 1996


New York Folk

Lawrence Lebduska, Abraham Levin, Isreal Litwak

January 16, 1996 - March 16, 1996


The Fractured Form

Expressionism and the Human Body

November 15, 1995 - January 6, 1996


From Left to Right

Social Realism in Germany and Russia, Circa 1919-1933

September 19, 1995 - November 4, 1995


Recent Acquisitions

June 20, 1995 - September 8, 1995


On the Brink 1900-2000

The Turning of Two Centuries

March 28, 1995 - May 26, 1995


Earl Cummingham - Grandma Moses

Visions of America

January 17, 1995 - March 18, 1995


Drawn to Text: Comix Artists as Book Illustrators

November 15, 1994 - January 7, 1995


Three Berlin Artists of the Weimar Era: Hannah Höch, Käthe Kollwitz, Jeanne Mam

September 13, 1994 - November 5, 1994


55th Anniversary Exhibition in Memory of Otto Kallir

June 7, 1994 - September 2, 1994


Sue Coe: We All Fall Down

March 29, 1994 - May 27, 1994


The Forgotten Folk Art of the 1940's

January 18, 1994 - March 19, 1994


Symbolism and the Austrian Avant Garde

Klimt, Schiele and their Contemporaries

November 16, 1993 - January 8, 1994


Art and Politics in Weimar Germany

September 14, 1993 - November 6, 1993


Recent Acquisitions

June 8, 1993 - September 3, 1993


The "Outsider" Question

Non-Academic Art from 1900 to the Present

March 23, 1993 - May 28, 1993


The Dance of Death

Images of Mortality in German Art

January 19, 1993 - March 13, 1993


Art Spiegelman

The Road to Maus

November 17, 1992 - January 9, 1993


Käthe Kollwitz

In Celebration of the 125th Anniversary of the Artist's Birth

September 15, 1992 - November 7, 1992


Naive Visions/Art Nouveau and Expressionism/Sue Coe: The Road to the White House

May 19, 1992 - September 4, 1992


Richard Gerstl/Oskar Kokoschka

March 17, 1992 - May 9, 1992


Scandal, Outrage, Censorship

Controversy in Modern Art

January 21, 1992 - March 7, 1992


Viennese Graphic Design

From Secession to Expressionism

November 19, 1991 - January 11, 1992


The Expressionist Figure

September 10, 1991 - November 9, 1991


Recent Acquisitions

Themes and Variations

May 14, 1991 - August 16, 1991


Sue Coe Retrospective

Political Document of a Decade

March 12, 1991 - May 5, 1991


Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka

Watercolors, drawings and prints

January 22, 1991 - March 2, 1991


Egon Schiele

November 13, 1990 - January 12, 1991


Lovis Corinth

A Retrospective

September 11, 1990 - November 3, 1990


Recent Acquisitions

June 12, 1990 - August 31, 1990


Max Klinger, Käthe Kollwitz, Alfred Kubin

A Study in Influences

March 27, 1990 - June 2, 1990


The Narrative in Art

January 23, 1990 - March 17, 1990


Grandma Moses

November 14, 1989 - January 13, 1990


Sue Coe

Porkopolis--Animals and Industry

September 19, 1989 - November 4, 1989


The Galerie St. Etienne

A History in Documents and Pictures

June 20, 1989 - September 8, 1989


Gustav Klimt

Paintings and Drawings

April 11, 1989 - June 10, 1989


Fifty Years Galerie St. Etienne: An Overview

February 14, 1989 - April 1, 1989


Folk Artists at Work

Morris Hirshfield, John Kane and Grandma Moses

November 15, 1988 - January 14, 1989


Recent Acquisitions and Works From the Collection

June 14, 1988 - September 16, 1988


From Art Nouveau to Expressionism

April 12, 1988 - May 27, 1988


Three Pre-Expressionists

Lovis Corinth Käthe Kollwitz Paula Modersohn-Becker

January 26, 1988 - March 12, 1988


Käthe Kollwitz

The Power of the Print

November 17, 1987 - January 16, 1988


Recent Acquisitions and Works From the Collection

April 7, 1987 - October 31, 1987


Folk Art of This Century

February 10, 1987 - March 28, 1987


Oskar Kokoschka and His Time

November 25, 1986 - January 31, 1987


Viennese Design and Wiener Werkstätte

September 23, 1986 - November 8, 1986


Gustav Klimt/Egon Schiele/Oskar Kokoschka

Watercolors, Drawings and Prints

May 27, 1986 - September 13, 1986


Expressionist Painters

March 25, 1986 - May 10, 1986


Käthe Kollwitz/Paula Modersohn-Becker

January 28, 1986 - March 15, 1986


The Art of Giving

December 3, 1985 - January 18, 1986


Expressionists on Paper

October 8, 1985 - November 23, 1985


European and American Landscapes

June 4, 1985 - September 13, 1985


Expressionist Printmaking

Aspects of its Genesis and Development

April 1, 1985 - May 24, 1985


Expressionist Masters

January 18, 1985 - March 23, 1985


Arnold Schoenberg's Vienna

November 13, 1984 - January 5, 1985


Grandma Moses and Selected Folk Paintings

September 25, 1984 - November 3, 1984


American Folk Art

People, Places and Things

June 12, 1984 - September 14, 1984


John Kane

Modern America's First Folk Painter

April 17, 1984 - May 25, 1984


Eugène Mihaesco

The Illustrator as Artist

February 28, 1984 - April 7, 1984


Early Expressionist Masters

January 17, 1984 - February 18, 1984


Paula Modersohn-Becker

Germany's Pioneer Modernist

November 15, 1983 - January 7, 1984


Gustav Klimt

Drawings and Selected Paintings

September 20, 1983 - November 5, 1983


Early and Late

Drawings, Paintings & Prints from Academicism to Expressionism

June 1, 1983 - September 2, 1983


Alfred Kubin

Visions From The Other Side

March 22, 1983 - May 7, 1983


20th Century Folk

The First Generation

January 18, 1983 - March 12, 1983


Grandma Moses

The Artist Behind the Myth

November 15, 1982 - January 8, 1983


Käthe Kollwitz

The Artist as Printmaker

September 28, 1982 - November 6, 1982


Aspects of Modernism

June 1, 1982 - September 3, 1982


The Human Perspective

Recent Acquisitions

March 16, 1982 - May 15, 1982


19th and 20th Century European and American Folk Art

January 19, 1982 - March 6, 1982


The Folk Art Tradition

Naïve Painting in Europe and the United States

November 17, 1981 - January 9, 1982


Austria's Expressionism

April 21, 1981 - May 30, 1981


Eugène Mihaesco

His First American One-Man Show

March 3, 1981 - April 11, 1981


Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele

November 12, 1980 - December 27, 1980


Summer Exhibition

June 17, 1980 - October 31, 1980


Kollwitz: The Drawing and The Print

May 1, 1980 - June 10, 1980


40th Anniversary Exhibition

November 13, 1979 - December 28, 1979


American Primitive Art

November 22, 1977


Käthe Kollwitz

December 1, 1976


Neue Galerie-Galerie St. Etienne

A Documentary Exhibition

May 1, 1976


Martin Pajeck

January 27, 1976


Georges Rouault and Frans Masereel

April 29, 1972


Branko Paradis

December 1, 1971


Käthe Kollwitz

February 3, 1971


Egon Schiele

The Graphic Work

October 19, 1970


Gustav Klimt

March 20, 1970


Friedrich Hundertwasser

May 6, 1969


Austrian Art of the 20th Century

March 21, 1969


Egon Schiele

Memorial Exhibition

October 31, 1968


Yugoslav Primitive Art

April 30, 1968


Alfred Kubin

January 30, 1968


Käthe Kollwitz

In the Cause of Humanity

October 23, 1967


Abraham Levin

September 26, 1967


Karl Stark

April 5, 1967


Gustav Klimt

February 4, 1967


The Wiener Werkstätte

November 16, 1966


Oskar Laske

October 25, 1965


Käthe Kollwitz

May 1, 1965


Egon Schiele

Watercolors and Drawings from American Collections

March 1, 1965


25th Anniversary Exhibition

Part II

November 21, 1964


25th Anniversary Exhibition

Part I

October 17, 1964


Mary Urban

June 9, 1964


Werner Berg, Jane Muus and Mura Dehn

May 5, 1964


Eugen Spiro

April 4, 1964


B. F. Dolbin

Drawings of an Epoch

March 3, 1964


Austrian Expressionists

January 6, 1964


Joseph Rifesser

December 3, 1963


Panorama of Yugoslav Primitive Art

October 21, 1963


Joe Henry

Watercolors of Vermont

May 1, 1963


French Impressionists

March 8, 1963


Grandma Moses

Memorial Exhibition

November 26, 1962


Group Show

October 15, 1962


Ernst Barlach

March 23, 1962


Martin Pajeck

February 24, 1962


Paintings by Expressionists

January 27, 1962


Käthe Kollwitz

November 11, 1961


Grandma Moses

September 7, 1961


My Friends

Fourth Biennial of Pictures by American School Children

May 27, 1961


Raimonds Staprans

April 17, 1961


Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka and Alfred Kubin

March 14, 1961


Marvin Meisels

January 23, 1961


Egon Schiele

November 15, 1960


My Life's History

Paintings by Grandma Moses

September 12, 1960


Watercolors and Drawings by Austrian Artists from the Dial Collection

May 2, 1960


Martin Pajeck

February 29, 1960


Eugen Spiro

February 6, 1960


Käthe Kollwitz

December 14, 1959


Josef Scharl

Last Paintings and Drawings

November 11, 1959


European and American Expressionists

September 22, 1959


Our Town

One Hundred Paintings by American School Children

May 23, 1959


Marvin Meisels and Martin Pajeck

May 1, 1959


Gustav Klimt

April 1, 1959


Käthe Kollwitz

January 12, 1959


Oskar Kokoschka

October 28, 1958


Village Life in Guatemala

Paintings by Andres Curuchich

June 3, 1958


Two Unknown American Expressionists

Paintings by Marvin Meisels and Martin Pajeck

April 28, 1958


Paula Modersohn-Becker

March 15, 1958


The Great Tradition in American Painting

American Primitive Art

January 20, 1958


Jules Lefranc and Dominique Lagru

Two French Primitives

November 18, 1957


Margret Bilger

October 22, 1957


The Four Seasons

One Hundred Paintings by American School Children

June 11, 1957


Grandma Moses

May 6, 1957


Alfred Kubin

April 3, 1957


Franz Lerch

March 2, 1957


Egon Schiele

January 21, 1957


Josef Scharl

Memorial Exhibition

November 17, 1956


Irma Rothstein

May 19, 1956


Käthe Kollwitz

April 16, 1956


A Tribute to Grandma Moses

November 28, 1955


As I See Myself

One Hundred Paintings by American School Children

May 20, 1955


Juan De'Prey

April 19, 1955


Erich Heckel

March 29, 1955


Freddy Homburger

March 2, 1955


Masters of the 19th Century

January 18, 1955


Oskar Kokoschka

November 29, 1954


Isabel Case Borgatta and Josef Scharl

October 12, 1954


James N. Rosenberg and Eugen Spiro

April 30, 1954


Per Krogh

April 2, 1954


Cuno Amiet

February 16, 1954


Eniar Jolin

January 14, 1954


Irma Rothstein

December 8, 1953


Josef Scharl

November 11, 1953


Grandma Moses

October 21, 1953 - October 24, 1953


Wilhelm Kaufmann

September 30, 1953


Lovis Corinth, Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele

May 27, 1953


A Grandma Moses Album

Recent Paintings, 1950-1953

April 15, 1953


Streeter Blair

American Primitive

February 26, 1953


Paintings on Glass

Austrian Religious Folk Art of the 17th to 19th Centuries

December 4, 1952


Hasan Kaptan

Paintings of a Ten-Year-Old Turkish Painter

October 29, 1952


Margret Bilger

May 10, 1952


American Natural Painters

March 31, 1952


Ten Years of New York Concert Impressions by Eugen Spiro; Four New Paintings by

January 26, 1952


I-Fa-Wei

Watercolors of New York by a Chinese Artist

December 1, 1951


Käthe Kollwitz

October 25, 1951


Drawings and Watercolors by Austrian Children

May 21, 1951


Grandma Moses

Twenty-Five Masterpieces of Primitive Art

March 17, 1951


Roswitha Bitterlich

January 18, 1951


Oskar Laske

Watercolors of Vienna and the Salzkammergut

October 14, 1950


Tenth Anniversary Exhibition

Part II

May 11, 1950


Austrian Art of the 19th Century

From Wadlmüller to Klimt

April 1, 1950


Chiao Ssu-Tu

February 18, 1950


Anton Faistauer

January 1, 1950


Tenth Anniversary Exhibition

Part I

November 30, 1949


Autograph Exhibition

October 26, 1949


Gladys Wertheim Bachrach

May 24, 1949


Oskar Kokoschka

March 30, 1949


Eugen Spiro

February 19, 1949


Frans Masereel

January 13, 1949


Ten Years Grandma Moses

November 22, 1948


Käthe Kollwitz

Masterworks

October 18, 1948


American Primitives

June 3, 1948


Egon Schiele

Memorial Exhibition

April 5, 1948


Miriam Richman

February 7, 1948


Vally Wieselthier

Memorial Exhibition

January 10, 1948


Christmas Exhibition

December 4, 1947


Fritz von Unruh

November 10, 1947


Käthe Kollwitz

October 4, 1947


Grandma Moses

May 17, 1947


Lovis Corinth

April 16, 1947


Hugo Steiner-Prag

March 15, 1947


Mark Baum

January 11, 1947


Eugen Spiro

November 25, 1946


Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

May 17, 1946


Ladis W. Sabo

Paintings by a New Primitive Artist

April 8, 1946


Georges Rouault

The Graphic Work

February 26, 1946


Käthe Kollwitz

Memorial Exhibition

November 21, 1945


Fred E. Robertson

Paintings by an American Primitive

June 13, 1945


Max Liebermann

The Graphic Work

April 18, 1945


Vienna through Four Centuries

March 1, 1945


Eugen Spiro

January 20, 1945


Grandma Moses

New Paintings

December 5, 1944


Käthe Kollwitz

Part II

October 26, 1944


A Century of French Graphic Art

From Géricault to Picasso

September 28, 1944


Max Liebermann

Memorial Exhibition

June 9, 1944


Juan De'Prey

Paintings by a Self-Taught Artist from Puerto Rico

May 6, 1944


Abraham Levin

April 15, 1944


Lesser Ury

Memorial Exhibition

March 21, 1944


Grandma Moses

Paintings by the Senior of the American Primitives

February 9, 1944


Betty Lane

January 11, 1944


WaIt Disney Cavalcade

December 9, 1943


Käthe Kollwitz

Part I

November 3, 1943


Will Barnet

September 29, 1943


Lovis Corinth

May 26, 1943


Josephine Joy

Paintings by an American Primitive

May 3, 1943


Oskar Kokoschka

Aspects of His Art

March 31, 1943


Eugen Spiro

February 13, 1943


Seymour Lipton

January 18, 1943


Illuminated Gothic Woodcuts

Printed and Painted, 1477-1493

December 5, 1942


Abraham Levin

November 4, 1942


Walt Disney Originals

September 23, 1942


Documents which Relate History

Documents of Historical Importance and Landmarks of Human Development

June 10, 1942


Honoré Daumier

April 29, 1942


Bertha Trabich

Memorial Exhibition of a Russian-American Primitive

March 25, 1942


Alfred Kubin

Master of Drawing

December 4, 1941


Egon Schiele

November 7, 1941


Betty Lane

June 3, 1941


Flowers from Old Vienna

18th and Early 19th Century Flower Painting

May 7, 1941


Weavings by Navaho and Hopi Indians and Photos of Indians by Helen M. Post

January 29, 1941


Georg Merkel

November 7, 1940


What a Farm Wife Painted

Works by Mrs. Anna Mary Moses

October 9, 1940


Saved from Europe

Masterpieces of European Art

July 1, 1940


American Abstract Art

May 22, 1940


Franz Lerch

May 1, 1940


Wilhelm Thöny

April 3, 1940


French Masters of the 19th and 20th Centuries

February 29, 1940


H. W. Hannau

Metropolis, Photographic Studies of New York

February 2, 1940


Oskar Kokoschka

January 9, 1940


Austrian Masters

November 13, 1939


EGON SCHIELE'S WOMEN

October 23, 2012 - December 28, 2012

ARTISTS

Schiele, Egon

ESSAY

The Austrian artist Egon Schiele (1890-1918) is probably best known for his depictions of women. His nudes, in particular, not only challenged the taboos of his time, but presaged the more fluid, open-ended approach to gender and sexuality that prevails today. Although the artist was repeatedly accused of peddling pornography, even a cursory review of his work shows that it more often evokes anxiety than sexual arousal. The work is, moreover, revolutionary in form as well as content; Schiele literally invented a new way of looking at women. For this reason, he has been an important influence both on male artists and on such women as Marina Abramovic, Vanessa Beecroft, Marlene Dumas, Tracey Emin, Nan Goldin and Sherrie Levine. While Schiele, in his personal life, was hardly a feminist, in his art he freed women from the controlling male narrative that had heretofore shaped the interpretive discourse.

 

Ever since Eve plucked the apple from the Tree of Knowledge, woman has been viewed, in Judeo-Christian mythology, as a purveyor of sin, an evil temptress. While the female was associated with the physical body, instinct and nature, the male came to be identified with the spirit, reason and civilization. However by the turn of the twentieth century, these dichotomies were increasingly being called into question. The notion of a soul—or indeed even a fixed self—residing within but inherently separate from the body no longer seemed intellectually viable. Darwin had shown that humankind is an essentially biological construct. Freud had demonstrated that human behavior is shaped by unconscious forces beyond an individual’s rational control. At the same time, the socio-economic changes wrought by industrial capitalism were propelling women beyond the domestic sphere, encouraging them to demand equality in the wider world. Seen as heralding a final, dreaded triumph of instinct over reason, this assault on male hegemony inspired numerous rearguard attempts to shore up the barrier between the sexes.

 

The new sciences of evolution and psychoanalysis were among the tools used to define and dictate a woman’s proper role. Females were said to be weaker and stupider than the opposite sex by evolutionary design. Furthermore, theorists like Otto Weininger opined, evolutionary progress required gender differentiation; equality would send the species tumbling into a downward, “degenerate” spiral. Whereas Weininger and many other men believed that women were purely sexual creatures, there were those, including Freud, who contended that psychologically healthy bourgeois females have little interest in sex as such. These contradictory attitudes were reconciled by dividing women into two groups, based loosely on the Christian paradigms of the whore and the Madonna. Fin-de-siècle art and literature were awash with primitive sex goddesses, dangerous femmes fatales, pathetic prostitutes, innocent virgins and saintly mothers. Rampant prostitution enabled men to eat their cake and have it, too; they could run wild with Vienna’s street hookers and then return home to chaste brides.

 

Such, it seems, was the case with Egon Schiele’s father, Adolf. He chose his future wife, Marie Soukup, when he was twenty-three and she only twelve, and by the time they married five years later, he had contracted syphilis. Probably due to this lethal wedding-night “gift,” Marie would endure numerous stillbirths and the death of her first surviving child, Elvira, at the age of ten. Egon, at fourteen, witnessed his father’s descent into madness and eventual death from syphilis. The origin of Adolf’s illness made a mockery of bourgeois propriety, which attempted to deny or suppress the human sex drive. Egon, in the throes of puberty, was left to confront his own raging desires without any reliable adult guidance. At the same time, he was now the only male in a family comprising his mother, Marie; an older sister, Melanie; and a younger sister, Gertrude (Gerti). Coming of age in the company of women undoubtedly honed Schiele’s sensitivity to the female psyche.

 

Family members were Schiele’s obvious first models; they were readily available and did not need to be paid. The artist’s early portraits of his mother, exuding an impassive world-weariness, already evidence a remarkable ability to capture a female sitter’s personality. But Schiele’s favorite model, at least through mid-1910, was Gerti. Four years his junior, Gerti was fully equal to the artist in her willingness to explore her own burgeoning sexuality. Here was a different type of woman: neither an innocent victim nor a wicked temptress, but a female in comfortable command of her body. Schiele clearly felt a freedom with his little sister that he couldn’t, at this stage, have experienced with a stranger.

 

Among Schiele’s first adult nude models were the pregnant patients of the gynecologist Erwin von Graff. The resulting watercolors, dating to the first half of 1910, reflect a mix of unease and incomprehension that must have been mutual on the part of artist and sitters alike. Limned in a garish combination of red, mauve and yellow, these frequently faceless women, with their bulging bellies and gaping vaginas, encapsulate Schiele’s projected sexual fears. Sometimes the models (probably indigent prostitutes pressed into posing by their doctor) stare back at him with undisguised disdain and resignation. Unlike traditional nudes, these women are not passive objects, but participants in a complex emotional interchange. And unlike traditional nudes, they are fiercely, almost aggressively, unattractive.

 

Historically, various pictorial devices were used to suppress the nude’s erotic volatility and turn her into an object of serene aesthetic contemplation. Conventional foreshortening and perspective pinioned the naked female in her own separate space, where she could be ogled from a safe distance. A supine pose reinforced her passivity. Beauty—smooth contours, unblemished skin, a pretty face and perfect body—was implicitly associated with moral goodness. For more explicit moral credibility, the nude might be given an allegorical, mythological or religious role to play. Gustav Klimt had begun dismantling these stereotypes by stripping his nudes of literary context and populating his allegories with lusty vixens. But his society portraits, devoid of sexual nuance, conform to the “Madonna” paradigm, and the women in his erotic drawings are often so inert as to appear virtually comatose.

 

Between 1910 and 1911, Schiele took the final steps necessary to liberate the nude from established artistic convention. During this period, he worked intensively with a pair of unnamed models who, based on the color of their tresses and the title of a contemporaneous painting, may be referred to as the “black-haired girls.” Probably they were prostitutes (since proper young ladies did not pose naked), and it is evident that Schiele had sexual relations with at least one of them. Like Gerti, these models willingly “performed” for him, albeit in far more erotic positions. Like some of the gynecological nudes, the black-haired girls lock eyes with the artist, but it is impossible to know whether the images reflect their reactions to him or his reactions to them. The girls’ forthright stares challenge the primacy of the male gaze, blurring the boundary between subject and object that had heretofore been central to the genre of the nude.

 

The boundary between subject and object is further undermined by Schiele’s compositional methods. His emphasis on negative space creates a tension between the figure and the edge of the picture plane that calls into question the ability of the latter to contain the former. Far from receding into the distance, his women seem to jump out at the viewer. Most disturbing is the artist’s habit of drawing the prone female from above, and then dispensing with all surrounding props that might serve to locate her in space. By imparting a vertical orientation (often reinforced by the placement of his signature) to these clearly recumbent figures, Schiele negates the illusion of passivity that traditionally held in check the nude’s erotic potency. Forgoing any attempt to recalibrate the gender balance in favor of men, he visually affirms female sexual autonomy.

 

In the spring of 1911, Schiele became involved with a new model, Wally (also known as Valerie or Walburga) Neuzil. While he continued to work with the black-haired girls on into 1912, sometimes even arranging threesomes, it soon became evident that Wally had assumed a special place in his life. Until his marriage in 1915, she was the artist’s steady companion, assistant, lover and muse. Like all his best models, Wally partnered organically with him, and Egon gratefully recognized her as his equal in a shared creative mission. The mute standoff between subject and object that had characterized his earlier nudes was broken by the obvious affection with which Wally returned Egon’s gaze. His more formal portraits of her were characterized by a profound tenderness, a nascent humanism that gradually came to inflect his subsequent portraits. The artist’s relationship with Wally taught him to understand and appreciate the unique integrity of other individuals.

 

Egon may well have been in love with Wally, but her lowly profession, basically no better than that of a prostitute, made her an unfit wife for a man of his social class. In 1914, as the artist struggled to come to terms with the double standard that was part of his bourgeois heritage, his nudes underwent a striking series of changes. On the one hand, his drawings of women grew more three-dimensionally voluptuous, and on the other hand, the resulting images are surprisingly abstract. Perpendicular cross-hatching, resembling primitive scarification, imparts volume to the principal contours, while faces are reduced to ovoid masks, with saucer-like or pinprick eyes. It would be tempting to characterize these changes as a re-objectification of the female nude, but for the fact that Schiele applied identical pictorial strategies to his contemporaneous self-portraits. The “blind” figures that proliferate in the 1914-15 oeuvre seem to be a more general, metaphorical commentary on sightlessness: the soul’s intrinsic solitude; the inability of human beings to ever properly “see” one another.

 

Toward the end of 1914, Schiele began courting two sisters, Adele and Edith Harms, who lived across the street from him in Vienna. Either of these bourgeois young women would have met with the approval of the artist’s family, and by the spring of 1915 he had settled on the younger sibling, Edith. Wally was summarily dismissed, and in June the couple married. The marriage did not have an auspicious start. For one thing, Egon had been drafted into the Austro-Hungarian Army, and he began his basic training just three days after the wedding. Edith, an inveterate flirt, turned out to be less innocent than he had expected. Yet she was also a far less accommodating artistic partner than Wally. Posing naked embarrassed her; running business errands was something she had never before been asked to do. Forced to accompany her husband to various army posts, she found herself far from home, virtually alone and friendless. At the same time, Egon’s artistic production suffered, reduced by the demands of military service. Given Edith’s reluctance to disrobe, he executed relatively few nudes during this period, but he did produce numerous perceptive portraits of his sad, implacable bride.

 

Schiele’s return to Vienna in early 1917 enabled him to resume his studio practice with renewed vigor. Now hailed as one of the city’s leading artists, he was, for the first time in his life, able to afford an extensive roster of professional models. Portrait commissions poured in from men and women alike. Through his relationships with his own family, and then with Wally and Edith, Schiele had become keenly attuned to female psychology, and the humanism developed in portraits of these intimates now colored his commissions. He had long worked with models much as photographers do, capturing fleeting gestures with stop-action precision. Speed of execution enabled him to craft a new conception of self, not as an immutable essence, but as a constant process of becoming. The faces in his late portraits are sensitive barometers of that process; body and soul mesh for a moment that is all the more poignant because we know it will not last. By honoring the transitory nature of personal identity, Schiele makes his women modern.

 

In his 1917-18 nudes, Schiele followed through on the trend toward greater volumetric verisimilitude presaged already in 1914. His lines had become bolder, surer and more capable of capturing, in a single stroke, every nuance of a three-dimensional body. His application of pigment augments this effect, caressing and molding each bony protuberance, firm mound of muscle or lacy

garment. Disruptive elements like erratic cropping and skewed poses persist, but the figures’ erotic volatility is subdued by their self-contained realistic presence. They tend to recede into their own space, and when they make eye contact with the viewer, there is little sense of emotional engagement. Despite their almost classical beauty, however, the late nudes, like the portraits, are thoroughly modern. The women own their sexuality; they take pride in their seductive bodies and are empowered by their allure.

 

In some respects, it would seem that Schiele had by the end of his life arrived at a more conventional view of gender than that explored in his art between 1910 and 1915. Whereas his female portraits depict fully realized human beings, the nudes are comparatively impersonal sex objects. The artist’s reversion to the bourgeois double standard was reflected in his marriage as well. Indeed, Egon was far more sympathetic to Edith in his art than he was in real life. Back in Vienna, he was soon cheating on her, perhaps even entertaining a dalliance with her sister, Adele. As Edith felt her husband slipping away, she sought to mend the marriage by having his child. Egon remained concerned but distant. His wife was six months pregnant when the Spanish influenza epidemic swept them both to early graves in October 1918.

 

Although the divergent approaches taken in Schiele’s late portraits and nudes may be interpreted in terms of the double standard, these antithetical representations of womanhood can also be seen as two sides of the same coin, exemplifying, respectively, female intellectual and sexual autonomy. Whether these attributes are viewed as mutually exclusive, complementary, threatening or welcome depends on the viewer’s own prejudices. Schiele’s genius lay in his ability to accept and integrate

opposites. He was a master of both soul and body, spiritual and physical, subject and object, self and other. He instinctively rejected the binary thinking that, in his day, attempted to segregate the masculine and the feminine into two distinct camps. He likewise rejected the stereotypical views of woman that classified her as either Madonna or whore, chaste or sinful. He did not judge his women; he merely observed.

 

We would like to express our warmest thanks to all the lenders who made this exhibition possible: the Museum of Modern Art, the Neue Galerie New York, Judy and Michael Steinhardt, and numerous anonymous private collectors. Copies of Jane Kallir’s new book, Egon Schiele’s Women (312 pages, 265 illustrations, hardbound) may be ordered for $85.00, plus $12.00 handling & U.S. shipping; New York residents, please add 8.875% sales tax. If you are ordering from abroad, please contact us in advance for shipping costs. Checklist entries are accompanied by their catalogue raisonné numbers.