Fin-de-siècle Vienna: shrouded in a façade of inwardness, a society built on conservative values and an art academy with a stringent adherence to traditional artistic modes – the Viennese Secessionists fought to create art beyond the confines of this traditional society.
Egon Schiele was an Expressionist and a Seccecssionist, famous for his depictions of prostitutes and proletarian children. In Standing Girl, a charcoal drawing of Gerti, his younger sister, the artist pays homage to the flat, elegant, ornamental style of his mentor and friend Gustav Klimt.
This early portrait is a precursor to the expressive style that would explode onto the surface of his later works. The contorted positioning of hands and elongated fingers already hints at what is to come in Schiele’s own stylistic development. It wasn’t until 1910 that Schiele developed his own unique version of realism, void of idealisation.
Gerti served as his model for many years; as his sister matured so did his style. There has been speculation by critics, his contemporaries and even their own parents, regarding the possible erotic nature of the relationship between Gerti and Egon, however, no evidence exists to prove this.