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After his failed love affair with Mathilde Schönberg, Gerstl became socially isolated. The depiction of his naked body with emphasized genitals shows him as a helpless, defenseless person, cast into the hands of fate. It is, at the same time, a provocation aimed at the society of the day. The light figure is painted in bold brushstrokes and stands against an abstract blue and yellow background, into which he used the base of his brush to score erratic, scrolling curls. This last painting by the young painter is the heart-rending testimony of a person who could see no point in continuing to live. He convincingly captured his hopeless fate on canvas, using coloration and brilliant brushwork to form a pictorial language which moves and touches a chord within every single viewer.

Details

  • Title: Nude Self-Portrait with Palette
  • Creator: Richard Gerstl
  • Date Created: 1908
  • Physical Dimensions: w1000 x h1393 cm (Without Frame)
  • Type: Paintings
  • Rights: Leopold Museum, Vienna
  • External Link: https://www.leopoldmuseum.org
  • Technique: Oil on canvas
  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings: Dated below right: 1908
  • Inv. no.: LM 651

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