Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Schiele Shilling Now?

 Shortly after joining Tumblr, I realized that an amazing, non mainstream artist I discovered a long time ago in college is not as secret now as it seemed to us back then. You may have guessed I'm talking about Egon Schiele, whose name, art and signature is now being used to hawk cosmetics.

Egon Schiele - 1912, Two Seated Female Nudes
The cosmetics company purports to take its 1910 Vienna seriously, even recreating make up from  Schiele's works--for a trade show. The logo (Schiele's signature) is a nice touch too. Could these people actually create anything? I doubt Egon was worrying about makeup colors during his short, turbulent life that produced some of the greatest drawings in art history.

"This exquisite line of cosmetics has been inspired by the great art of the famous Austrian Expressionist, Egon Schiele (1890-1918), who painted sensual beauties in WWI-era Austria. The quality of the Egon Schiele Cosmetics is exceptional, made with minerals beneficial for your skin. The colors have been carefully chosen and developed to perfectly compliment the lustrous hues of Schiele’s paintings and drawings. Application of Egon Schiele cosmetics will make you look and feel like the creation of a famous artist. “For the The Makeup Show NYC 2012 we have recreated painting by Schiele painted in 1912. Exactly 100 years ago. We carefully recreated all the colors and specifically the makeup of our model.”

I naively thought works of art had 95 years or so before falling into the public domain, where they can be used for crass and commercial ends by crass and commercial marketers. Your thoughts?


  1. The world is besotted with Philistines, me thinks!
    I saw a fabulous exhibit of Egon Schiele's drawings along side Gustave Klimpt's drawings several years ago in NYC - I think it was at the Metropolitan - and have enormous respect for both artists. Interesting to see them paired, both have a potent sexual content. A line of make-up is such a crass rip-off. Sign. xxoo, sus

    1. I don't even know if I've ever seen any Egon Schiele's work in real life, come to think of it! Hmmm, worth a trip somewhere! I love Klimt too.

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  3. This sort of rip-off doesn't surprise me, really. It seems companies will do anything these days to make a profit. I am surprised, though, that they can simply use Schiele's name and work so freely. He may not have any living relatives who would object.

    It also surprises me that they would say, "Application of Egon Schiele cosmetics will make you look and feel like the creation of a famous artist," since his figures are frequently quite contorted and not exactly beautiful. I adore his work, but I wouldn't actually want to look like one of his portraits.
    Interesting post, Deborah!

    1. Angela, I was surprised! Your comment made me realize why--it wasn't "pretty art" they are using to sell product, but authentic art. I found that shocking.
      Seriously--Egon Schiele for beauty products?!!
      I wouldn't want to look like any of his portraits either!

  4. Isn't this the type of make up we use to make our kids look like lions and tigers - Oh My!!!!
    Great post.
    Thanks for stopping by on my trip to Paris!

    1. Di, great point--this makeup is very tacky! Oh my :) Better off buying in Paris!