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Art and Clinic

in the Oeuvre of Egon Schiele and Erwin Osen

In 1910, Egon Schiele (1890–1918) drew newborns and pregnant women at Vienna’s 2nd Women’s Clinic with the support of gynecologist Erwin von Graff (1878–1952). Five years later, his fellow artist and friend Erwin Osen (1891–1970) portrayed a series of men whose war-related traumas were treated at the neurology department of the 2nd Garrison Hospital on Rennweg by the electropathologist Stefan Jellinek (1871–1986). While the backgrounds of creation and the functions of these two series – both created outside of the studio – of pathological or pathologized, often naked bodies are very different, they are testament to the inter-disciplinary exchange between artists and physicians as well as their interactions with patients. The drawings are concretizations of the type of “Clinical Modernism” that results from the field of tension between artistic and medical approaches to the exploration of the body: For, beyond the focus on the psyche, the history of Viennese Modernism is also essentially a history of the body which was the subject of research and reflection in different fields of knowledge. VG