Schiele’s was influenced by painters such as Kokoschka, an Austrian expressionist and Klimt, an Austrian symbolist who became a father figure as well as guide to Schiele. Schiele’s early works clearly show similarities in style shared between these painters and the Art Nouveau movement, including this ‘Self Portrait’ which he painted in 1910. It wasn’t long before Schiele developed his own unique style and began experimenting with nudes and other sexual imagery.
Schiele painted this Self Portrait after dropping out of the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. He had become disillusioned by the traditional style of education and set up the New Artists Group with other drop outs. He was cut off financially from his parents and, known for being quite egotistical despite his shy and sensitive persona, Schiele embarked on constructing many self-portraits during this year, 1910. The painting displayed here known as Self-portrait with Striped Shirt was one of these paintings.
This portrait was produced before his imprisonment in 1912 which inspired him to address topics such as death, rebirth and confinement. As such this Self Portrait is haunting to a lesser degree than later works, which show sicklier figures painted in uncomfortable positions.
Schiele’s art was a contentious subject while he was alive due to its blunt nature at addressing subjects such as sex and death. Many viewed his work as pornographic and found it disturbing. This portrait was one of the least controversial paintings that he created during his lifetime. The very aspects which made his work unpopular among the public of his day, make his work all the more desirable and mesmerising to today’s public.