Death and the Maiden. From Schubert to Schiele

“I feel myself the most unhappy and wretched man in the world,” confided Austrian composer Franz Schubert to his friend, artist Leopold Kupelwieser, in a letter dated March 31, 1824, as he was struggling with poor health, financial woes and lack of recognition. “Think of a man whose health can never be restored, and who…

Max Kurzweil – Lady in Yellow Dress (1899)

Max Kurzweil was miserable. The Austrian artist had spent his life vacillating between passion and depression, excess and withdrawal. Like Gustave Caillebotte he was stuck between the conservatism of his bourgeois upbringing and the changing tides in art. But Kurzweil couldn’t feel too sorry for himself, for his playground was bohemian Vienna at the turn…

Otto Dix – Portrait of Journalist Sylvia von Harden (1926)

If you were to travel back in time to 1920s Berlin and head into the Romanisches Café, located on the end of the fashionable Kurfürstendamm, you’d suddenly find yourself surrounded by all the great minds of that bustling period. You would meet writers like Bertolt Brecht and Erich Maria Remarque, New Objectivity artists who want…

Giorgio de Chirico – Self-portrait (1922)

Giorgio de Chirico had always been a classicism enthusiast. Even during the early stages of his career, the artist had resorted to iconography reminiscent of Ancient Greece and Rome. It may come as no surprise then, that since he was an Italian born in Greece, de Chirico was not shy to take pride in his…

Leo Katz – Is This the Meaning of Life? (1937)

When Charles Darwin published his seminal work On the Origin of Species in 1859, he couldn’t have predicted the Pandora’s box that his research would open. Suddenly, the knowledge that populations have come to evolve through the process of natural selection was finding supporters of various stripes, each eager to further their own interests and…