By Diethard Leopold
Richard Gerstl (1883–1908) painted for just four years, but the work he produced in that short period is widely seen as well ahead of his time, including Self Portrait Against a Blue Background and The Fey Sisters. Although Gerstl never exhibited during his lifetime and his innovative work was largely ignored by both the academy and the art world, his portraits and landscapes are today regarded as some of the most important representatives of Austrian Expressionism.
With Richard Gerstl, Diethard Leopold takes readers skillfully through the artist’s life and work. Gerstl trained at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, but his rejection of the Vienna Secession made it difficult for him to find acceptance there, and he ultimately continued painting without formal guidance. While he felt marginalized by the art world, Gerstl forged a meaningful friendship with the musician Arnold Schönberg. Later, his affair with Schönberg’s wife would lead to the loss of both his lover and his friend, causing him to tragically take his life at the age of twenty-five.
Working with in cooperation with the Leopold Museum in Vienna, Leopold has written a detailed, accessible portrait of Gerstl, illustrated with selected works, that will enhance our understanding of this important artist.
72 pages, 36 color plates, 18 halftones