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Richard Gerstl

(1883—1908)


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(b Vienna, 14 Sept. 1883; d Vienna, 4 Nov. 1908).

Austrian painter. His early painting was in the style of the Vienna Sezession, but by 1905 he had developed a highly personal type of Expressionism. His finest works are portraits, including two groups of the family of the composer Arnold Schoenberg (Österreichische Gal., Vienna), notable for their psychological intensity. He was a tormented character, and after running off with Schoenberg's wife he committed suicide. His work, which anticipates that of such painterly Expressionists as Kokoschka, remained little known until the 1930s, when he was hailed as an ‘Austrian van Gogh’.


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