Did Egon Schiele and Francesca Woodman share some moves?
An upcoming Tate show brings the two artists together, drawing out some surprising parallels in their work
Though they lived and died at opposite ends of the 20th century, the Austrian painter Egon Schiele and American photographer Francesca Woodman shared a great deal. Both focused on portraits, and, to a greater or lesser extent, their own self-portraits. Schiele produced a great many images of himself, while Woodman’s photographs often featured herself as a model.
They also both created nude studies, sometimes with uncomfortable, sexual undertones; Woodman’s nude pictures are unnerving, as she was still in her teens and early twenties when she made them, while Schiele’s angular, discoloured bodies, “offered a radical new language for expressing inner vulnerability through abject, naked flesh,” as we put it in our book, Body of Art. Both Schiele and Woodman died in their twenties: Schiele from the Spanish flu aged 28 and Woodman by her own hand, committing suicide at the age of 22.
Image: Francesca Woodman, Untitled, Providence Rhode Island, 1975-1978
© Courtesy of George and Betty Woodman