sábado, 7 de abril de 2007

Richard Gerstl (1883-1908)

Hace un par de semanas estuvimos en la exposición de "El retrato en el siglo de Picasso". Pasamos un buen rato delante de este cuadro...

"When one talks of the triumvirate of Austrian Expressionism, after Schiele and Kokoschka, it's a pity that Gerstl doesn't replace the name Klimt. Despite the obvious linkage, Klimt was of another generation, even if some of his works were the very archetypes of Expressionism. Unfortunately, Gerstl killed himself at 25 and left behind barely 70 pieces of work. There's not much first-hand biography available--he destroyed all evidence of his life. The point of this page is not to expound on the man's life; there are words enough readily available elsewhere. But a brief grounding is helpful in looking at the work. Gerstl decided to become a painter, pleasing his father none. He performed somewhat erratically in his schooling. A professor, Christian Griepenkerl, who would famously exclaim to Schiele several years later, "The devil shat you into my classroom." had perhaps tried the phrase out on Gerstl first. He did declare to Gerstl, "The way you paint, I piss in the snow." Other than fellow student Victor Hammer, Gerstl didn't hang out with other artists. He was very much interested in music. In 1906 he met the composer Arnold Schoenberg and fell into his circle; thence the soap opera began. The two had a mutual admiration society going on, each inspired by the other's art. Gerstl gave art lessons to the family, and the man himself. The extended group summered together in 1907. And somewhere along the line Gerstl managed to insinuate himself into the carnal delights of Schoenberg's wife, Mathilde. An odd match up if ever there was. The affair went on and was discovered resulting in a crisis whereby the lovers fled to Vienna, leaving the composer to a suicidal depression while in the midst of a major work. After a few weeks, Mathilde was persuaded to return home for the children. Gerstl lost it all: lover, mentor, and everyone he counted as friend. It wasn't long before he went to his studio, burned the contents, and then, before his studio mirror, hung himself and stabbed a big knife through his even larger heart."

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