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Boy in Green Coat, 1910
Boy in Green Coat, 1910

Boy in Green Coat, 1910

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Boy in Green Coat, 1910 
Egon Schiele 

Executed in 1910, Boy in Green Coat or Junge im grünen Mantel dates from a period when Egon Schiele began to draw young children with recurring frequency. He found his models amongst the vagrant children of Vienna's slums, choosing them not merely because they could be convinced to pose for a pittance, but because their relaxed, unselfconscious and uninhibited behavior allowed him to observe true human nature stripped of all the pretense and convention of Imperial Viennese society. It was in this year that the young artist would also achieve a major stylistic breakthrough in his art, arriving at a unique combination of naturalistic rendering and expressive stylization that derived from his earlier experiments with Jugendstil formalism.

The boy cocks his head like a curious animal, his limpid eyes staring earnestly at the viewer whilst his oversized coat protectively conceals all other body language. The viscose medium of gouache allowed Schiele to experiment with greater textual variety, which is beautifully explored in the loose swathes of blue pigment that animate the coat's otherwise solid plane of colour. The encircling 'body halo' of opaque white gouache so frequently applied to Schiele's early watercolours is not only used to intensify the psychological impact of his subject, but also as a way of isolating his figures on the page. By leaving the surrounding negative space blank, Schiele instils the work with a sense of existential alienation, a vision provoked as much by his own perception of himself as much as what he perceived in the sitters themselves.

Boy in Green Coat is a limited edition print of 100 runs
Photo © Christie's Images / Bridgeman Images

Printed on Giclée Hahnemühle German Etching

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