Egon Schiele

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The result is illustrated in Seated Female Nude with Raised Right Arm (1910, 45x32cm), a carefully finished piece submitted to Josef Hoffmann at the Wiener Werkstätte. Carefully outlined in black crayon on tinted paper, watercolor has been used to decorate the figure in a muted warm palette of orange, yellow green and ochre; the tiny wedge of cerulean blue above the head adds a complementary color accent. The line shows a tendency to peak at points of tension (the outline of the hip, the top edge of the left shoulder and forearm), a trick that makes the contour static but not heavy. The effect is decorative, to suit the postcards and knicknacks turned out by the workshop, but the figure also seems tense or vigilant, as if waiting for mother to burst through the door. For the red hair, dark straight eyebrows and slim figure confirm that this is Schiele's favorite model from these years: his younger sister Gertrude (Gerti), whom Schiele drew obsessively from childhood up until she broke off nude modeling at age 16.

When Gerti disappeared from Schiele's drawings, around 1910, he replaced her with young prostitutes and truant children — apparently, figure models were as hard to find in Vienna as gallery representation. Schiele paid these minors token sums, or let them hang out in his apartment in Vienna and later in Neulengbach, cultivating their familiarity and coaxing them into modeling for him, sometimes nude. One of these, a Neulengbach teenage girl infatuated with Schiele, ran away from home and wheedled him and his model/lover Valerie Neuzil into taking her to Vienna; the next day she changed her mind and went with them back to Neulengbach. By that time, her father had brought charges of rape and kidnapping against Schiele, and he was arrested. During a search of his home Schiele helpfully produced an erotic drawing or two, and the charge of "insulting public morality" was added. Imprisoned three weeks until trial, the charges involving the girl were...
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