Impressionist & Modern Art

Anxious Beauty: Honoring Schiele and Klimt

By Rachel Corbett

In Vienna and around the world, dozens of art institutions are celebrating Modernist pioneers Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt this year; both artists died in 1918. A century has passed, but their portrayals of psychosexual anxiety and troubled beauty still reverberate strongly among artists and viewers alike.


The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, is showing 60 of their drawings, on loan from Vienna’s Albertina museum, in the exhibition Klimt and Schiele: Drawn. In New York, the Neue Galerie is mounting the third installment of Before the Fall, this time focusing on German and Austrian art of the 1930s. Curated by the German art historian Olaf Peters, the 150 paintings on view hint at where Klimt and Schiele might have gone had they lived longer by featuring some of the artists they influenced, including Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, Max Ernst and Oskar Kokoschka.

Lower Belvedere


In Vienna, the Lower Belvedere’s exhibition, Beyond Klimt: New Horizons in Central Europe, reflects on the post-World War I period, immediately following the artist’s death. Curator Alexander Klee says that Klimt “was also a big supporter of younger artists, and remained open to new tendencies in art throughout his life.”

For those who want to go deeper into the mind of Schiele, Vienna’s Leopold Museum is showcasing his art alongside his writings and poems in Egon Schiele: The Jubilee Show.

This year also marks the centenary of the death of two lesser-known figures who, nevertheless, remain central to the history of Modernism. Otto Wagner is the subject of an exhibition at the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art (MAK) in Vienna, which will then turn the spotlight on to Vienna Secession co-founder Koloman Moser toward the end of 2018.

Stay informed with Sotheby’s top stories, videos & news.
Receive the best from Sotheby’s delivered to your inbox.

By subscribing you are agreeing to Sotheby’s Privacy Policy. You can unsubscribe from Sotheby’s emails at any time by clicking the “Manage your Subscriptions” link in any of your emails.

More from Sotheby's

We use our own and third party cookies to enable you to navigate around our Site, use its features and engage on social media, and to allow us to perform analytics, remember your preferences, provide services that you have requested and produce content and advertisements tailored to your interests, both on our Site as well as others. For more information, or to learn how to change your cookie or marketing preferences, please see our updated Privacy Policy & Cookie Policy.