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Egon Shiele: the book to own if you only want one
on October 8, 2004
Jane Kallir (also the author of Egon Schiele's 'catalogue raisonne' -- usually a HUGE expensive book which includes a picture of every known available representation of an artist's work) says 'Since completing the catalogue raisonne, I have always yearned to combine the story of Schiele's life and his artistic development into a single book'. And wow, what a beautiful job she has done.
This book begins with some of the earliest pictures of Egon's art (when he was about 16 and drawing trains) and ends with a picture of his wife (12 years later -- drawn not long before both she and Schiele died during the flu epidemic which swept the globe following World War I).
What makes this book extraordinary is the showcase of over 300 excellent color reproductions of Schiele's art shown in chronological order and Kallir's insightful commentary on the 'nuances of Schiele's stylistic development during each 12 month period'.
To paraphrase the author (again), this is Schiele's unique 'coming of age' story -- 'in these works, we watch Schiele literally grow up, almost day by day -- an artist with the technical virtuosity to express those experiences as they were happening'.
And to sum up, I borrowed this book from the library and found the book so awesome that I ordered my own copy from amazon.com before I finished reading it -- and now that I have finished reading the book, I'm taking the time to say, this is the most unique (and moving) art book (I'm guessing I've read 200) I've ever read.