Egon Schiele's career was short, intense, and amazingly productive. Before succumbing to influenza in 1918 at the age of twenty-eight, he created over three hundred oil paintings and several thousand works on paper. The human figure provided Schiele with his most potent subject matter for both paintings and drawings. The self-portraits of his large series of watercolors and paintings produced between 1910 and 1918-of which this one is a prime example-are searing, psychologically complex images. The emaciated, tortured figure of the artist, bony and angular, bristles with an inner tension made visible by the agitated pencil line and painted white surrounding aura. Schiele stares wildly, his large, dark eyes glaring menacingly, his mouth open, and his shock of hair standing on end. In a pose suggestive of the crucified Christ, his arm is thrust out awkwardly and bent sharply at the elbow. Color is limited to shades of brown, with only certain areas of the body (mouth, nipples, navel, and genitals) tinted red.
Inscription: Signed and dated (lower left): E.S./ 1911
[Kunstverlag Wolfrum, Vienna, until 1922; sold on October 30, 1922, for 20,000 Kr, to Thayer]; Scofield Thayer, Vienna and New York (1922–d. 1982; on extended loan to the Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Mass., as part of the Dial Collection, 1939–82; his bequest to MMA)
Worcester Art Museum. "The Dial and the Dial Collection," April 30–September 8, 1959, no. 209.
Worcester Art Museum. "Selections from the Dial Collection," November 13–30, 1965, no catalogue.
Worcester Art Museum. "The Dial Revisited," June 29–August 22, 1971, no catalogue.
Worcester Art Museum. "'The Dial': Arts and Letters in the 1920s," March 7–May 10, 1981, no. 131.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Looking At You," January 26–September 30, 2001, no catalogue.