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.
'Very few artists have approached line and drawing with the same virtuosity and intensity as Schiele', explains exhibition curator and Schiele scholar Dieter Buchhart. 'By evolving from the ornamental line towards the expressionist line [...], he enabled a borderline dissonant and divergent experience of the line as a sign of human existence'.
Between 1912 and 1914, Schiele focused on the combined line, which allowed, in its amputated form, for a three dimensional perspective. During this short but politically tumultuous period, Schiele fragmented the body, focusing on heads, hands and feet to convey the premonitory fear of war.
Often colouring the body to heighten the sense of tension between the figure and the void of the paper, Schiele explored expressions, feelings and memories as never before. With the introduction of the combined line, Schiele changed the face of twentieth-century portraiture.