Erotic depictions of women in drawing, painting, sculpture and photography from the dawn of man to the present.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Venus in Black Stockings 4: Wally Neuzil by Egon Schiele

Wally Neuzil in Black STockings (1912)

Here is a fine study by Austrian artist Egon Schiele of his mistress Wally Neuzil.  Schiele was a very linear artist compared with his older contemporary and mentor Gustave Klimt, who preferred big blocks of bright colour.  As a result the black stockings stand out against the delicate line work of her figure and underwear. 

Wally Neuzil

Wally (Walburga) had been, it is thought, Klimt's model too but Schiele started his relationship with her as soon as she began, at the age of seventeen, modelling for him.

Seated woman with bent knee

He produced an even more famous painting of her in black stockings and a green top and her red hair features in many of Schiele's paintings of the period.  Schiele eventually married Edith Harms, one of his neighbours and a more acceptable wife to society than Wally.  He  expected Wally to remain as his mistress, however, and suggested that they had a holiday together every year. She didn't agree to this (his wife wasn't too happy with the idea either) and she left him and trained as a nurse during WW1.  She died in 1917 in Sinj (now in modern Croatia but then part of the Kingdom of Dalmatia; part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire) of scarlet fever at the age of 23.  Both Schiele and a pregnant Edith died less than a year later in the great influenza epidemic which killed 20 million people in 1918.

Jane Birkin as Wally

In the 1980 film Egon Schiele Exzess und Bestrafung Wally was portrayed by the far from redhead Jane Birkin.  This flawed, but still interesting, film focussed on the time that Schiele was arrested on charges of seducing an under age girl at their house in the Vienna Woods where their unmarried co-habitation was a source of local scandal.  Wally stuck by him, visiting him in prison and eventually he was released only finally being charged with possessing erotic drawings in a place that a child might find them.  

More Schiele another time.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting. Friends of my wife's who live in London have had a print of the second Schiele painting shown here on their guestroom wall for years; I've always been grateful for its presence when staying there! I'd guessed it was Schiele but didn't know the story till now. Thanks for another excellent post.