Cover image for Between ruin and renewal : Egon Schiele's landscapes
Between ruin and renewal : Egon Schiele's landscapes
Smith, Kimberly A.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New Haven : Yale University Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
ix, 220 pages : illustrations (some color), maps ; 29 cm
Why landscape? Vienna, Schiele, and tradition -- Work and world: unframing the autonomous landscape -- The "Spirit of the gothic" and the townscape: medieval style as modernist critique -- Gothic revisited: nature and the nation -- The melacholic landscape: death and the crisis of the subject.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ND538.S37 S55 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

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The Austrian artist Egon Schiele (1890-1918) is renowned for his intensely confrontational portraits, self-portraits, erotic images, and allegories. What is less well known today is that Schiele was also a talented and prolific landscape painter. These fascinating landscapes, however, are now gaining the attention of scholars and the art world. Indeed, Landscape at Krumau (1916) by Schiele recently sold at auction in London for about USD20 million. In this beautifully illustrated and engaging book, Kimberly Smith provides the first full examination of Schiele's landscapes and townscapes, offering a new approach to and insights into the artist's work and motivations. Diverging from the conventional interpretation that Schiele's paintings are revelations of the artist's psychology and emotional experience, Smith focuses instead on how his landscapes relate to the political, social, and historical conditions in early twentieth-century Austria. As Smith argues, Schiele's extraordinary landscape paintings are marked by a dialectic of resignation and renewal and convey the character of Viennese modernism itself.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Smith (art, Southwestern Univ.) offers the first analysis of Schiele's landscapes rather than another study of the psychological expressionism of his erotically charged bodies. She demonstrates how the landscapes articulated the political and cultural experiences of Vienna's early 20th-century citizens and how Schiele's treatment of that subject responded to dramatic shifts in politics, philosophy, epistemology, and psychology. Smith organizes her discourse thematically, rather than chronologically, by identifying and charting definitive crises within Viennese culture. Landscapes are grouped into categories of intellectual history, problems of national and personal identity, the limits of linguistic expression, and nostalgia for a lost past. Academic in style and tone, the book offers an exciting approach to Schiele's work and should prompt reevaluation by scholars. Recommended for academic libraries and specialized art collections. Rebecca Tolley-Stokes, East Tennessee State Univ., Johnson City (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Generally, scholars have dealt with Schiele's figural work and have not paid much attention to his landscapes. This study is, therefore, a readable and very important contribution to the immense Schiele bibliography. Rather than basing her approach on biography, psychology, and stylistic development, Smith (art history, Southwestern Univ.) analyzes Schiele's landscapes in connection with the cultural and intellectual history of the early 20th century as experienced by citizens of Austria, a crossroads open to many artistic and intellectual currents. The book is organized around the profound crises affecting Austrian society taking in the Vienna scene, the influence of traditional as well as new art, the primitive (medieval, etc.) changes in the understanding of nature and of the nation, and finally death and identity. Excellent color illustrations and bibliography. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates through faculty. E. E. Hirshler emeritus, Denison University