How Egon Schiele and Jean-Michel Basquiat changed the art world forever
Both prolific, both revolutionary, both dead at 28: Schiele and Basquiat, working at opposite ends of the C20th, single handily changed the course of art history.
Both artists sought to obliterate tradition, expectation and historical representations of human identity. Both sought to express the distress of human existence with aggressive distortions of the body. For both artists, line became the symbolic border between life and death and loss and trauma.
This autumn, to mark the centenary of Schiele's death and the 30th anniversary of Basquiat's death, the Fondation Louis Vuitton will present a major comparative showcase of their work. With many pieces never seen before in Europe, this artistic extravaganza will certainly merit a trip to Paris.
In five works, here's how Schiele and Basquiat changed the art world forever.
A child of the American Civil Rights Movement, Basquiat came of age in the late 70s when progressive post-punk art was thriving in downtown New York. With graffiti drawings, illicitly sprayed in subways, Basquiat and a band of counter-culture artists including Keith Haring and Jenny Holzer, fueled the appetite for anti-establishment creativity.
Once he left school, the street became his studio; the traumatised living body became his subject. Bleeding his local environment for inspiration, Basquiat's intense and highly polemic scribbles challenged the status quo of New York's established art market.
But he was in a small minority of African-Americans working and circulating in a predominantly white art world. As a result, Basquiat’s work is both bolder and bleaker than that of his contemporaries. People took note and Basquiat found his market.