The model in Kniende Frau (Woman Crouching), revels in her stance and conveys the hint of a smile, a fierce refusal to shy away. Her posture suggests a human naturalness obsolete in the rigid postures of academic paintings, whilst simultaneously presenting Schiele with an unconventional perspective from which to represent the human form. With one shoulder partly obscuring the woman’s face combined with the downward tilt of her head, Schiele’s figure exudes a tenderness with which he so often saw and depicted the human body.
This radical presentation of the female form is a stunning example of the deeply raw and honest portraits that gained Schiele the admiration of contemporaries such as Gustav Klimt. Klimt and Schiele had both been a part of the Vienna Secession movement that worked to breathe life back into Austrian art by introducing new means of visual representation and providing a platform for contemporary art in the city. Portraiture was considered an outmoded genre during the time in which Schiele was working, however, the Secessionists persevered with the genre in the hope to instill in it something new. Although never formally taught by Klimt, Schiele drew influence from the older artist and they embarked upon a fruitful and fascinating friendship. Schiele was to continue to revere Klimt throughout his short life, it was in 1910 that he underwent an artistic emancipation and found his own artistic voice. However, Schiele’s success from then on was to accelerate rapidly and only a year after the present work was executed, in January 1913, he was elected a member of the Viennese Succession's Bund Österreichischer Künstler. His groundbreaking use of line in particular would shape the work of his former idol Klimt and following the older artist’s death in February 1918 it was the Schiele who was considered his predecessor.
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