AI: I Hate Egon Schiele

Okay, not really. I have always really loved Schiele’s artwork. But this past weekend I was at The Metropolitan Museum of Art where I saw a painting by Schiele (the featured image above) which caused me to have a strange emotional swing. First, it caught my eye and drew me over. Then I marveled at how beautiful it was; the colors, the composition, the truncated human form, the abstraction surrounding and covering the figure. Then I got angry. I thought ‘Egon, you’re a real a-hole for being that good’. It was an irrational thought and I’ve written before about how I get really inspired by similar encounters. But it was such an odd feeling that I wanted to share it with you all and get your thoughts.

Have you ever gotten angry because you really liked something? What caused the reaction? How did you talk yourself down? Is this type of reaction just simple jealousy mixed with admiration?

The ART Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Mad Art Lab community. Look for it to appear Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 3pm ET.

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Brian George

Brian George

Brian George is an illustrator who lives and works in the Van Beardswick neighborhood of Brooklyn. His fierce love of cheesecake is often (but not always) thwarted by his intolerance for lactose. He will draw and paint for your amusement (‘amusement’ is archaic Etruscan slang for ‘money’). Visit his portfolio, follow his tweets @brianggeorge or on G+


  1. October 5, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    If it makes you feel better, I also hate Schiele. But mostly because he’s super creepy.

  2. October 5, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    …and he’s the original Emo boy.

    I had a bit of an art school crush on his work but I am over him. OVER HIM, do you hear me?! And he probably never escaped standing in Klimt’s shadow. I’m just saying.

    As for your question about being angry—it’s usually when I know I’m being manipulated and I don’t care and then I get mad that I don’t care. It’s kind of recursive and kooky. Nothing that bacon can’t fix.

  3. October 6, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    I like Schiele fine, but I in particular like two pieces of work that are based on his life:

    Julia Jordan’s play Tatjana in Color
    Rachel’s album Music for Egon Schiele


  4. October 7, 2011 at 11:44 am

    I had a similar experience when I saw “Young Man Admired by Women II” by Ferdinand Hodler. (link is NSFW, contains nudity. This photo does not do it justice though, IMHO.) I hadn’t expected to be hit with such an emotional wallop, it took me completely by surprise. The more I stared at it, the more it drew me in. And I turned mad with jealousy. It seemed so simple, yet so well done… yet like I would never be able to be that level. It’s hard to describe. But anyway, I completely understand.

  5. October 8, 2011 at 1:05 am

    I never get mad because someone else’s skills are so much better than mine. I completely accept my limitations and I’m not interested at all in competing in the athletic aspects of music making.

    The thing that *has* gotten me upset is knowing that I can now never use a particular technique, or a particular phrase, or a particular chord pattern without being seen as a plagiarizer. And that anger only comes when that piece resonates perfectly with how I feel about whatever the subject is.

    I know it’s not rational, but it pisses me of that other people can express my emotions so well that I’d have to duplicate their methods in order to fully convey how I feel.

  6. October 8, 2011 at 9:21 am

    @coelecanth: Yes. I think what you have written is a better description of what I felt. I wasn’t ‘angry’ at the technical skill with which the painting was executed in the least. It’s a two-pronged feeling – half “Why didn’t I think of that?” and half “Well, I can never do exactly that now that it’s been done so perfectly”. Though, there is now a part of me that wants to make a derivative painting based on the one above, just for me – just to scratch the itch.

    @hellothefuture: I’ll have to check out those recommendations. Thanks for that!

    @Donna: Bacon fixes everything.

    @Ryan: See that’s one of the reasons I like Schiele so much. I love creepy artwork (in general).

    @tattooedg33k: Wow. That’s a beautiful painting. Gonna look up more about Hodler.

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