Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Egoist

In a few days HNA books will be publishing The Egoist by Jean-Louis Gailleman. It's a welcome look at Schiele from the point of view of his self-obsession. Gailleman is a professor at Paris' Sorbonne University and one of today's leading commentators on the period. From a cursory glance through a preliminiary copy it seems to cover all the well-known narcissistic paintings while also unearthing a few unknown (or less well-known) portraits. When the majority of spectators enjoy Schiele for his representations of women, girls, prostitutes and street-life, it is worth being reminded of the intriguing egotism behind his work and inspiration. Rarely was there an artist so obsessed with his own image; that can be seen more than anything in his posing for photographer and friend Anton Trcka as well as in the infamous Red Host and its towering erection. Although this book is published in the "Discoveries" series, there is little that is new in there, but that shouldn't stop you from buying it. It's a decently priced, well-presented work.