Albertina Exhibition Proves That Egon Schiele’s Drawings are as Good as his Paintings

The Albertina displays a different view of Egon Schiele’s oeuvre.

The cultural landscape of Vienna is indelibly marked by the work of Egon Schiele, and the superb collection of his paintings at the Leopold Museum remains a fixture on any tour of the city. His prodigious output of more than 330 paintings and over 2,500 drawings is all the more astounding for the fact that he passed away at the tender age of 28, one of the many lives claimed by the Spanish flu pandemic that swept across Europe in 1918.

With the centennial of his death on the horizon, the Albertina presents his smaller-scale drawings on paper, digging deep into their own collection for the occasion. The resulting exhibition is a revelation, even for admirers familiar with his better known painted works – striking as they are with their angular depictions of the human figure and alternatingly bright and muddy palettes, his canvasses tend to obscure the fact that he was a consummate draughtsman, if not the greatest of a stellar generation.

The reduced nature of drawing – compared with painting – allows the viewer to both visually and mentally grasp the image in its totality, seeing through the eyes of the artist (insofar as that is possible). As a result, there is an immediacy to the drawn image that brings it closer to the moment as it was lived and felt. In the succinct words of John Berger, drawing is “a burrowing under the apparent.”


And it is in Schiele’s drawings that the full scope of his artistic prowess is made manifest. With their sparse, deftly assured lines, human forms in vividly contrived contortions, and decisive deployment of color, his subjects emanate life. This show is a rare chance to witness firsthand the magnificence Schiele was able to conjure with a humble pencil.

Egon Schiele

Through Jun 18, Albertina

Open daily 10:00–18:00, Wednesdays to 21:00

David Mathews
David Mathews is an illustrator and animator from Delhi, based in Vienna. (David's Website)

Help us help you

“Strong media and independent journalism are built on the shoulders of subscribers. Your support means the world to us.

Benjamin Wolf
COO & Managing Editor

The coronavirus outbreak affects and challenges your life in big and small ways. Metropole is here for you and we are proud to be your news source during this crisis.

But just as the coronavirus has increased the need for independent journalism, it has also undercut a major revenue source of media companies, ours included – advertising.

We need your support to keep it up – donate or subscribe and #helpushelpyou!

Support Metropole!


RECENT Articles

Enforcement of Mask Rules by U-Bahn Security Triggers Accusations of Racism

A routine intervention by Wiener Linien staff escalated into alleged use of excessive force; feelings run high while body-cam evidence may prove critical.

How Coronavirus Is Affecting Austria’s Neighbors

Here’s how European countries are managing the second wave of COVID-19 – including statistics, measures and an analysis of the current situation.

Coronavirus in Austria & Vienna | Second Lockdown Sweeps Across Europe

The coronavirus has arrived in Austria. Here’s all you need to know about current measures, including where to get help, information and tips – updated regularly.

Metropole’s 10 Films to Watch At the Viennale 2020

Austria’s premier film festival enters the pandemic age with extra screens and a great selection of world cinema.

Hold the Line

With cases skyrocketing again in Europe, it is time to remember the advice a public health expert gave us in April: The virus is unforgiving to unwise choices.

Facing the Closed-Door Topic of Migrants and Sexual Assault

While most crime is down, alarming increases in violence against women, often by recent migrants, increases the pressure on efforts to support successful integration.


Join over 5,000 Metropolitans, who already get monthly news updates and event invitations.