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Two Women Embracing

Artist: Egon Schiele
(Tulln an der Donau 1890 – 1918 Vienna)

Date: 1915
Medium: pencil, watercolour, gouache on paper
Dimensions: 485 × 327 mm
Classification: drawing
Inventory Number: 1915-933
Department: Prints and Drawings

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Two Women Embracing

Although the activity of Sigmund Freud was for a long time a source of controversy, his teachings, which liberated the deepest strata of the human soul, found fertile ground in the artistic life of fin-de-si?cle Vienna. The erotic drawings and nude photographs of Gustav Klimt, the leading figure of the Viennese Secession, opened the way to the uninhibited depiction of sexuality. The erotically overcharged atmosphere of the city is well illustrated by the fact that during his brief barely ten-year career, Egon Schiele found buyers almost only for his erotic drawings.
Schiele was only seventeen when he was introduced to Klimt, who recognized the talent of the younger man, and became one of his main supporters. Initially the relationship between the two artists was so close that Schiele eventually 'inherited' the older painter's lover. As well as Klimt's art, the liberating spirit of the exhibitions held in the Secession building, particularly the Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec and Munch works shown here, exercised a great influence on the young artist.
Even among his nudes, shown with no taboos, with embarrassing openness, and often in provocative poses, a special place is held by the sheets showing lesbian couples. The models in this extremely decorative pencil drawing coloured with aquarelle are given a dispassionate rendering which camouflages all emotion and lends a distinctly melancholy mood to the work.

Zoltán Kárpáti