Art is divine

Egon Schiele - Jean- Michel Basquiat

Tragic Genius

Micha Christos




From October 3, 2018 to January 14, 2019

Egon Schiele.

Selfportrait au coqueret, 1912.

Oil and gouache on wood.

32.2 x 39.8 cm.

Leopold Museum, Vienna.

Photo: © Leopold Museum, Vienna














On the occasion of the centenary of his death, the Louis Vuitton Foundation has chosen to present the Austrian artist Egon Schiele alongside Jean-Michel Basquiat with works that come mostly from private collections.


Beyond the historical and artistic periods, these two artists with vertiginous talents have troubling correspondences and singular similarities.

Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Gold Griot, 1984.

Acrylic and grease pencil on wood.

297.2 x 185.4 cm.

The Broad Art Foundation

  © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Licensed by Artestar, New York.

Photo: © Zindman / Fremont

Egon Schiele.

Autumn Sun (Sunflowers), 1914.

Oil on canvas. 100 x 120.5 cm.

Private collection, Courtesy Eykyn Maclean.

Photo: Courtesy of Eykyn Maclean



Egon Schiele (1890-1918) in Austria and Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988), a New York artist, both had  dazzling careers with very early disappearances. 


At 28, the Spanish flu mows Egon Schiele while it is the drug that carries to death Jean-Michel Basquiat in his 27 years. Their career is marked by an intense revolt against a so-called established order. 


Egon Schiele plays the eroticism of his nudes with raw realism against the conservatism of a declining Austro-Hungarian empire. He is scandalous in living in a common-law relationship with his partner and model Wally Neuzil and his drawings are described as immoral.

Egon Schiele.

Selfportrait in vest, standing, 1911.

Gouache, watercolor and grease pencil on paper, mounted on cardboard.

51.5 x 34.5 cm. Ernst Ploil, Vienna.

Photo: Courtesy of Ernst Ploil, Vienna

Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Dos Cabezas, 1982.

Acrylic and grease pencil on frame in crossed wooden slats.

152.4 x 152.4 cm.

Private collection

© Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Licensed by Artestar, New York.

Photo: © Robert McKeever

As for Jean-Michel Basquiat, of Haitian father and Puerto Rican mother, he puts the black figure at the heart of his work. 

Underground artist, he showcases his heroes like Charlie Parker and Cassius Clay. He rises with force and intensity against racism and the violence that results from it. 

Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Horn Players, 1983.

Acrylic and grease pencil on three panels-paintings mounted on wooden supports. 243.8 x 190.5 cm.

The Broad Art Foundation

© Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York.

Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio, Los Angeles

Egon Schiele.

Portrait of Dr. X, 1910

Greasy pencil and watercolor on paper.

39.7 x 29.2 cm.

Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut,

The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund

Photo: Allen Phillips / Wadsworth Athemuseum

Forerunner of Street Art at the age of 16, his artistic language was born in the street.


Both music and comics have inspired his painting and he punctuates his works with symbols and words. 

At the same age, Egon Schiele entered the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna and quickly emerged from the influence of Gustav Klimt to retain only its very particular forms and striking by the pain that emanates from it. His brush is violent; his angular lines twist into a malaise distorting the bodies to the extreme.

 He often paints self-portraits like Basquiat and we find in the two rebels this same haughty rage with monumental challenging energy. Both flirted with death as if their appointment was obvious. Every second was to be lived as the last, every work had to spring before it was too late.


In just a dozen or so years of career for everyone, they produce works compulsively. Egon Schiele left nearly 3000 works on paper and 300 paintings; as for Jean-Michel Basquiat, he left the scene after more than 2000 drawings and a thousand paintings.

Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Untitled, 1987. Acrylic, grease pencil, graphite, colored felt and paper glued on canvas. 228.6 x 272.4 cm.

John and Amy Phelan Collection

© Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York.

Photo: Courtesy of The Collection of John & Amy Phelan

Egon Schiele. Moa, 1911

Gouache, watercolor and pencil on paper.

48 x 31 cm.

Private collection, London.

Photo: © Mathias Kessler, 2017

Jean-Michel Basquiat.

  Anthony Clark, 1985

Acrylic, grease pencil and collage paper on wood.

244 x 139 cm.

Private collection, London

© Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Licensed by Artestar, New York.

Egon Schiele. Autoportrait, 1912. 

Aquarelle et graphite sur papier vergé japonais brun clair. 34,9 x 25,4 cm. 

National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Don de Hildegard Bachert en mémoire d’Otto Kallir, 1997. 

Photo : Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington


Nothing could stop the creative passion of these two artistic geniuses and especially not the material. 

They vary both techniques and media. Schiele uses gouache, grease pencil, and watercolor and dramatizes the simple wrapping paper. 

Basquiat paints on palisades or doors and he uses the canvases by superimposing collages of cardboard or paper.

This exhibition allows seeing two souls mirrored, to admire the revolt of two tormented beings that, beyond their respective times, were able to triumph over death in a fascinating art of vital energy, a real cry to life.

Egon Schiele.

Nude female lined with white, 1911.

Gouache and pencil on paper. 44 x 28.5 cm.

Johan H. Andresen Collection Photo: © Christian Øen

Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Crowns (Peso Neto), 1981.

Acrylic, grease pencil and collage on canvas.

182.9 × 238.8 cm.

Private collection

© Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Licensed by Artestar, New York.

Photo: © Marc Domage