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Born in June, 1890 in a small town in Austria, Egon Schiele studied art in Vienna, where he met Gustav Klimt in 1905. Klimt was his mentor, and although their careers took different paths, they remained close friends until Schiele's death.

In spite of the apparent hedonism and eroticism in Schiele's best drawings, he was also an artist deeply involved with the tragic and complex nature of mankind. In that sense, his work is an expressionist investigation into the search for inner reality and recognition of basic feelings. Male and female figures are depicted with harsh brittle lines and dissonant color in an intensity of characterization that is both very dramatic and strongly erotic.

Schiele was a tragic artist. He was committed to his vision, but no one would exhibit or buy his works. He was desperately poor, and even sent to prison in 1912 for making 'pornographic' works. Recognition only came well after his death in the influenza epidemic of 1918.