Letter from Egon Schiele to Leopold Czihazek
1st Sep. 1911
(Tulln 1890–1918 Vienna)
September 1, 1911.
Dear O.C. [Uncle Czihaczek] I have come to Neulengb.[Neulengbach] to remain here for good; my intentions are to create great works, for which I need a quiet place. This was impossible in Vienna; the more one is involved in public life, the more difficult it is. – Everything from my hand, whether painted, drawn or written, that I produced in the past two or three years is to be an indication of what is to come. Up until now I have given and have now become so rich from this that I must give myself away. – If an artist loves his work over all else, then he must give up even his best friend. – That I have stayed away from all of you has been wrongly interpreted, and you will think that I was being defiant, but I am defiant against every kind of onslaught of life. – I am obsessed with experiencing everything; for this I must be alone, I mustn’t become soft, my organism is harsh, only my thoughts lead me. – I have already enjoyed some successes; pictures of mine are in the Museum Folkwang in Haag [Hagen] Westphalia, at Cassierer [Cassirer] in Berlin, etc, which leaves me cold, however. – I know that artistically I have developed colossally; I have experienced and experienced, built, battled incessantly against making a “business” out of art. I am happy that I have attained a degree of toughness. – The way that I have become distant from all of you is completely organic and was prepared; and now I have absolutely not come in order to begin anew; I simply do not want you to see my absence for the past 1½ years as vanity. – Someone in a coffeehouse wanted a card from me or my name; I replied that an audience with me would cost 300 K [Kronen]; he was horrified by my intelligence; that was pride, pure pride. To the extent that I have experienced psychology in “reality,” I know that small people are vain, that small people are too small to be able to be proud, and that great people are too great to be vain. – So there are masters both small and great, but my own masterfulness is most important to me. – Below a few aphorisms of mine:
As long as there are elements, complete death is not possible.
One who does not thirst for art is close to degeneration.
Only the dim-witted laugh at the effect of an artwork.
Look if you can – into an artwork!
An artwork is priceless; it can be bought.
It is certain that great people were basically good people.
It pleases me that there are so few people with a sense for art – that evidences again and again the divine in art.
There will always be artists alive.
I always believe that the greatest painters painted figures.
I know that there is no modern art, only eternal art.
He who demands to have an artwork explained to him should not be obeyed; he is too dim-witted.
I paint the light that emanates from all bodies.
Even the most erotic artwork has sanctity!
I will reach the point where people will be shocked by the magnitude of every one of my “living” works.
The real art aficionado must be obsessed with owning both the oldest and the newest artwork.
A single “living” artwork suffices to ensure the immortality of an artist.
Artists are so rich that they must give themselves away.
Art cannot be applied.
My pictures must be placed in temple-like buildings.
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