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Egon Schiele : a self in creation : a psychoanalytic study of the artist's self-portraits

Author: Danielle Knafo
Publisher: Rutherford : Fairleigh Dickinson University Press ; London : Associated University Presses, ©1993.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
The haunting work of turn-of-the-century artist Egon Schiele continues to compel and shock viewers today. Living and painting in Austria during the decline of the Habsburg Empire and in the twilight of World War I, Schiele's image of man portrays the alienation and insecurity experienced at a time of decay and transition. Like his contemporary Sigmund Freud, Schiele probed the depths of human nature, and his graphic
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Genre/Form: Self-portraits
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Knafo, Danielle.
Egon Schiele.
Rutherford : Fairleigh Dickinson University Press ; London : Associated University Presses, ©1993
(OCoLC)622222784
Named Person: Egon Schiele; Egon Schiele; Egon Schiele; Egon Schiele; Egon Schiele; Egon Schiele; Egon Schiele; Egon Schiele; Egon Schiele
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Danielle Knafo
ISBN: 083863480X 9780838634806
OCLC Number: 26132740
Description: 185 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 29 cm
Responsibility: Danielle Knafo.

Abstract:

The haunting work of turn-of-the-century artist Egon Schiele continues to compel and shock viewers today. Living and painting in Austria during the decline of the Habsburg Empire and in the twilight of World War I, Schiele's image of man portrays the alienation and insecurity experienced at a time of decay and transition. Like his contemporary Sigmund Freud, Schiele probed the depths of human nature, and his graphic work is beginning to earn recognition as a major force in the evolution of modern art.

As the first psychoanalytic book of Schiele's self-portraits, Egon Schiele: A Self in Creation represents an important contribution to the available literature on this fascinating artist. Dr. Danielle Knafo provides valuable new insights into Schiele's countless anguished self-images, and convincingly demonstrates how childhood traumas were both exhibited and mastered in his art.

She also helps us understand the aesthetic appeal the spectator experiences in viewing Schiele's personal struggle and emotional turmoil.

Dr. Knafo reconstructs the formative events in Schiele's early life by carefully studying his art, diaries, and correspondence, illustrating those events that were to become the primary determinants of the content and form of his art. She explains how a failed mirroring experience with his mother and family deaths, including that of his father from syphilis, profoundly influenced Schiele's body image and subsequent self-representation.

He depicted his relationships to both parents in his art: reviving his father from the dead, he simultaneously killed his mother.

Schiele wrote in 1911, "I want to tear into myself, so that I may create again, a new thing which I, in spite of myself, have perceived," Repeatedly and compulsively creating his artistic double, Schiele not only developed an unusually personal - even autobiographical - art form, but he also transformed his canvas into a mirror where he worked at defining himself. He used his self-portraits not only to express himself but also to create a self. Despite the continuous nature of his self-obsession, Dr.

Knafo demonstrates that Schiele's self-portraits changed over time, reflecting alterations that took place in his psychic organization, particularly regarding the development of his sense of self and his object relationships. His self-portraits, therefore, display the emergence of an evolving self. They reveal his transformation from a solitary adolescent tormented by his sexuality and morbid fears of body damage and psychic dissolution into a man with an integrated character structure. An unfolding of his personality as well as an increasing maturity in his work is evident over time.

Although Schiele's career was brutally truncated by his premature death at the age of twenty-eight, his oeuvre retains a sense of completeness and resolution, for it demonstrates his triumphant use of art for mastery in the quest for identity.

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