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Egon Schiele's Early Sketchbook Examined In New Book, 'The Beginning'

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EGON SCHIELE SKETCHBOOK
Leopold Museum
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It's always interesting to dive into the diary of a great artist. It's especially interesting when that artist is the erotic Austrian painter, Egon Schiele.

A new book titled "Egon Schiele: The Beginning" is offering us a chance to peek inside the personal sketchbook of the 20th century art giant. Filled with scribbled musings and romantic portraits from his early career, the book includes images of Schiele's previously unpublished journal, providing a rare glimpse into the short-lived existence of an artist who died at only 28 years old.

Among the sketches found in the journal is a portrait of Margarete Partonek (pictured below) -- a girl who caught the attention Schiele when he was 15 years old. The artist quickly became obsessed with the young woman, drawing images of her and writing her poetry with a persistance only teenagers can muster. According to the Guardian, the love story is documented in a series of letters at Vienna's Leopold Museum, which can be summed up by the following verse:

"You rosy, enchanting creature,/ Seeing you makes my heart ache./…In a short line – I love you."

egon shiele sketchbook

The sketchbook also reveals Schiele's early landscapes and self-portraits, all dating back to 1906, the year he entered the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts and met his famous mentor, Gustav Klimt. The works are far from Schiele's later nude paintings, characterized by their twisted lines and intensely expressive faces, but the mostly unseen works showcase the beginnings of Schiele's familiar brushstrokes and attention to shape that he would develop in the years to come.

Scroll through the images below for a peek at some of the artist's first sketches (as well as several other images from his early art years) in the slideshow below. Let us know what you think of the raw drawings in the comments.

"Egon Schiele: The Beginning" will be published in the US on September 1, 2013.

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