"Egon Schiele: bad boy of painting, thrown in prison, author of a strongly erotic body of paintings, many portraying himself - all the elements are in place to secure his notorious legend as a tormented artist and victim of society. But Jean-Louis Gaillemin prefers to look elsewhere for the real story of the artist. For Schiele, it was necessary to conquer form, to recompose the world against the struggle of death. As an enfant terrible in Vienna of the 1910s, and in the shadows of Klimt and Freud, Schiele often found in his own nude body the most willing model for his experiments in decomposing form, and he laced his drawings and paintings with fierce expressionism of sexuality or death. Masturbation, lesbian women, young girls - the gamut of forbidden subjects. At first schematic and violent, around 1916 Schiele's art acquired a three-dimensional and graphic quality that made it possible for bodies and nature to be reconstructed. Among other work, he turned his attention to making some astonishingly perceptive portraits and paintings more richly tinged with allegory that hint at the profound modernist directions his work was headed. But Schiele died tragically at the age of twenty-eight - casting him forever as an "eternal youth" - which limits our assessment of this artist to only what he could express in the space of ten years."--BOOK JACKET.