Egon Schiele: The Radical Nude
23 October 2014 18 January 2015

  • The Courtauld Gallery presents the UK’s first major museum exhibition devoted to Egon Schiele for over twenty years
  • It focuses on Schiele’s nudes which are some of the most radical and unflinching depictions of the naked human figure created in modern times
  • The exhibition spans the short but urgent career of one of the major figures in early 20th Century art
  • The selection of drawings and watercolours show Schiele’s mastery of colour and line
  • The exhibition is part of The Courtauld Gallery’s ongoing commitment to exploring major themes in the history of drawing 
  • The exhibition will run from 23 October 2014 – 18 January 2015
  • Press Preview: Wednesday 22 October 10am – 12pm The Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 0RN
  • For further images or information, email

The Courtauld Gallery is pleased to present the first major museum exhibition in over 20 years of one of the 20th Century’s most exceptional artists, Egon Schiele (1890-1918). A central figure of Viennese art in the turbulent years around the First World War, Schiele rose to prominence alongside his avant-garde contemporaries, such as Gustav Klimt and Oskar Kokoschka. He produced some of the most radical depictions of the human figure created in modern times, reinventing the subject for the 20th Century. The exhibition will chart Schiele’s short but transformative career through one of his most important subjects – his extraordinary drawings and watercolours of male and female nudes.

Egon Schiele: The Radical Nude concentrates on the artist’s drawings and watercolours. It brings together an outstanding selection of works that highlight Schiele’s technical virtuosity, highly original vision and uncompromising depiction of the naked figure. This sharply focused exhibition will be a unique opportunity to see thirty-eight of these radical works drawn from both international museums and private collections, with many works shown in the United Kingdom for the first time.
Schiele arrived in Vienna in 1906, aged just sixteen, to train as an artist. He quickly proved his precocious talent and the following year sought out Klimt, the leader of Vienna’s Secessionist group of avant-garde artists and designers, who became a mentor to the young artist. Schiele’s early work could not have prepared the art establishment for the extraordinary breakthrough that he made in 1910 when he began to draw the figure in an entirely new way and the subject of the nude took on an increasingly important role.

This exhibition will begin with a rich selection of nudes from this seminal year, including a number of Schiele’s powerful nude self-portraits, demonstrating how his approach was closely tied to his introspective examination of his physical and psychological make-up. The main section will explore his provocative nudes of the next nine years when he pushed artistic conventions through his direct expression of human experience, fears and desires. The works are bound up with themes of self-expression, procreation, sexuality and eroticism. These were fertile concerns in the socially and psychologically charged atmosphere of pre-war Vienna.

Schiele overturned and transformed old traditions of art school life drawing classes with his raw and unidealised approach to the nude. Rather than just depict conventional artists’ models in familiar poses, he took as his subjects an unusual variety of people including himself, his sister, male friends, his lovers and wife, female prostitutes, pregnant women and babies observed in a medical clinic, and a number of young female models. Schiele’s subjects often act out a striking body language, assuming expressive or painfully twisted poses, his models frequently explicit in their nudity. Many of these works affronted contemporary Austrian standards of morality and were considered pornographic by some. In 1912 Schiele was even imprisoned for two months for contravening public decency. Today, these works are celebrated for challenging outmoded conventions of the nude in high art of the period and for investing the genre with a new and distinctly modern relevance.

The last part of the exhibition will look at works from Schiele’s final years before his untimely death in 1918 from Spanish influenza, aged just 28. An important aspect of all these works is Schiele’s unique draughtsmanship, which the exhibition explores through the development of his technique and approach to the medium that he made so distinctively his own.  Egon Schiele: The Radical Nude will also be an opportunity to reflect upon Schiele’s wide-ranging influence on the course of modern art that still resonates today.

Dr. Ernst Vegelin, Head of The Courtauld Gallery comments:
‘Egon Schiele’s works illuminate a radical approach to a traditional subject.  His unflinching portrayal of the human figure distinguish these works as among his most significant contributions to the development of modern art.’

Dr. Barnaby Wright, Daniel Katz Curator of 20th Century Art at The Courtauld Gallery adds:
‘As the first museum exhibition of the artist in the UK for over twenty years, this is an unique opportunity to bring together a remarkable group of Schiele’s nudes for public display. The psychological charge of his work is palpable in the distinctive line of Schiele’s nudes, the influence of which reverberates in the work of important contemporary artists today.’

Nadja Swarovski, Member of the Swarovski Executive Board, comments:
‘Egon Schiele was a pivotal figure in the creative and intellectual crucible that was pre-war Vienna, changing and challenging perceptions of the role of the human figure within modern art. As an Austrian company, we are proud to sponsor this important exhibition as part of our ongoing programme of cultural support and help reawaken interest in a poignant body of work whose influence still resonates today.’

Marshall Parke, Managing Partner of Lexington’s international business said:
‘We are delighted to be sponsoring this important new exhibition of one of the 20th Century’s most radical and influential artists. The Courtauld Gallery is one of London’s premier art museums, with an outstanding collection of important works, and Lexington Partners are proud to be affiliated with such a prestigious and exciting institution, in what is a once in a generation opportunity to see so many of Egon Schiele’s artworks under one roof in the United Kingdom.’

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue and will include new research by leading scholars including Professor Peter Vergo and Dr Gemma Blackshaw.


Kallaway PR
Fiona Russell
+44 20 7221 7883

Courtauld Gallery
Hannah Talbot 
+44 (0)20 7848 1149

Notes to Editors and Ticket Information

Opening Times:
Daily 10am – 6pm (last admission 5.30pm)
Late Openings (6-9pm) Thursday 27 November 2014 and 15 January 2015
Closed 25 and 26 December, last admission at 3.30 on 24 December
Tickets available from 1 September 2014 at
Admission £8.50* (concessions available)
*Price includes admission to the permanent collection and a £1 voluntary donation to The Courtauld Gallery

Corporate support for The Courtauld Gallery is more vital than ever. Please help us by acknowledging the exhibition sponsors Lexington Partners and Swarovski.


Martin Halusa

Friends of The Courtauld

About The Courtauld Gallery (
The Courtauld Gallery is one of London’s must-see art museums. Its collection stretches from the early Renaissance to the 20th century and beyond. It is displayed in the elegant setting of Somerset House, one of the city’s most dynamic cultural venues. The Courtauld Gallery is renowned for its unrivalled Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings, including masterpieces by Monet, Van Gogh and Gauguin and the largest collection of Cézannes in the UK. It houses a major collection of Old Master paintings and is one of the few museums in the country to display such a rich selection of early twentieth-century art. The Gallery also holds an outstanding collection of drawings and prints and fine works of sculpture and decorative arts.

The Courtauld Gallery regularly presents major exhibitions and special displays which are consistently acclaimed for their outstanding quality and originality.

The Gallery is at the heart of The Courtauld Institute of Art, one of the world’s leading centres for the study of art history and conservation. It plays an important role in the capital's cultural life and is part of London's Museum Mile.

“One of the world's great collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art”
- The Guardian

About Swarovski
Swarovski delivers a diverse portfolio of unmatched quality, craftsmanship, and creativity that goes beyond the manufacturing of crystal. Founded in 1895 in Austria, Swarovski designs, manufactures, and markets high-quality crystals, genuine gemstones and created stones, and finished products such as jewelry, accessories, and lighting. In addition, Swarovski Crystal Worlds was established as a unique venue dedicated to showcasing artistic interpretations of crystal. Swarovski Entertainment collaborates with established industry partners and exceptional talent to produce international feature films, while the Swarovski Foundation supports creativity and culture, promotes wellbeing, and conserves natural resources. Now run by the fifth generation of family members, Swarovski Crystal Business has a global reach with approximately 2,480 stores in around 170 countries, more than 24,000 employees, and revenue of about 2.33 billion euros in 2013. Together with its sister companies Swarovski Optik (optical devices) and Tyrolit (abrasives), Swarovski Crystal Business forms the Swarovski Group. In 2013, the Group generated revenue of about 3.02 billion euros and employed more than 30,000 people. | Swarovski on Facebook | @swarovski on Twitter

About Lexington Partners
Lexington Partners is a leading global alternative investment manager primarily involved in providing liquidity to owners of private equity and other alternative investments and in making co-investments alongside leading private equity sponsors. Lexington Partners is the largest independent manager of secondary acquisition and co-investment funds with more than $22 billion in committed capital. Since 1990, Lexington has acquired over 2,200 secondary and co-investment interests through 475 transactions with a total value in excess of $30 billion, including $10 billion of syndications. Lexington also invests in private investment funds during their initial formation and has committed to more than 200 new funds in the U.S., Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region. Lexington currently employs more than 80 people and has offices strategically located in the major centres for private equity investing – New York, Boston, Menlo Park, London, and Hong Kong. Lexington also has senior advisors located in Asia, Australia, and Latin America. Additional information may be found at

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