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Egon Schiele was not a sex offender

The 100th anniversary of Egon Schiele’s death has arrived just in time for the #MeToo movement. Commemorative exhibitions are taking place this year in Moscow, Boston, Vienna, Paris, London, Liverpool and New York City, too, when the Met Breuer presents a show (3 July-7 October) on Scofield Thayer, the first US Schiele collector. Responding to the ongoing focus on sexual harassment, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts saw fit to add wall labels addressing the artist’s alleged mistreatment of women for its Klimt and Schiele exhibition (until 28 May). When the contemporary artist Chuck Close was accused of sexual harassment, the New York Times gratuitously included Schiele in its pantheon of historical artist-abusers. In the furore of our current moment, it is easy to forget that every allegation of abuse must be weighed according to its specific merits. Schiele’s relationships with women are difficult for us to judge, not only because no living witnesses survive, but also because present-day standards are so very different from those that prevailed in early 20th-century Austria. Read more

2018-10-23T20:45:25+00:00