Coquelicot Art of the First World War
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Egon Schiele, Heinrich Wagner, Leutnant i. d. Reserve (Portrait of Reserve Lieutenant Heinrich Wagner), 1917, black chalk and opaque color on paper, Heeresgeschichtliches Museum, Vienna.

© Heeresgeschichtliches Museum, Wien.

The fighting men

9 - Egon Schiele

A survivor after three years of war, he had been decorated; there are two medals on his tunic, but his face, eyes and joined hands indicate the weariness and the indifference of this prematurely old man. Schiele (1890-1918) portrays him in the same way as he had formerly depicted the Russian prisoners he guarded - with the same coldness and objective acuteness. The absence of the bust, uniform and any setting aggravates this feeling of loss and isolation. This could also be a depiction of Schiele's own loneliness (which his peers in Vienna considered distrustfully if not reprovingly, so much so that they took him to court for alleged indecency).