After meeting and marrying his wife, Edith, in 1915, his work softened and began to show a warmth and smoothness of touch which had perhaps been missing until then. The marriage was not without its difficulties, in part because Schiele had previously been involved with Edith's sister, Adele, and her family were very much against the wedding.
Portrait of Edith Schiele in a Striped Dress features Schiele depicting his wife as she had been on their wedding day, dressed in the striped dress which she had made for the occasion from curtain fabric. The picture's deep sense of the romantic is enhanced by the tragic knowledge that within three years of this portrait being painted both of the couple would have died from the Spanish Flu pandemic which was sweeping Europe.
In the portrait Edith stands full-length and centrally positioned and facing the artist head-on, but though her gaze is fully on the artist there is a timidity about her stance and around her nervous looking hands and fingers that gives a sense of tenderness to the picture.
The background is diffuse and obscure and even Edith's feet and arms feel faint and ghostly, with all the emphasis in the portrait focusing on Edith's face and the bright, bold colours of her striped dress.
The affection and innocence in this picture stand in sharp contrast to many of Schiele's other works and are a testament to what was clearly a truly fond and loving marriage- one that never outlived its early flush of promise.