Take-two Tuesday — The Way They Were: Egon and Wally

July 5, 2011

This entry was originally posted March 1, 2010 at 11:50 am.

Yesterday I was reminded that I had a bunch of these “Way They Were” entries planned and had only followed through on one (Jayne and Mickey). That’s cowardly. I’m going to try to motor through more in the coming months.


“Sitzende Frau mit hochgezogenem Knie”/”Seated woman with bent knee”, 1917.

Although artist Egon Schiele had been separated from Valerie “Wally” Neuzil and married to Edith Harms for two years by the date of this painting, most everyone agrees this is from an earlier study of Wally. It looks too much like her not to be, and he uses the colors that are associated with the Wally work. It’s my favorite work by him. It was on the cover of the Schiele book that my husband, who is a painter, had at our house in Portland, and was the entire reason I found myself opening and reading the book one day. I was interested in Schiele’s work, which is provocative and weird and has many shockingly modern features, all things I like, but, because his life was tragically cut short by disease, his career arc is brief. Coming away from the slim book about his life and art, I felt that his work was dominated by the chief feature of his life, which is to say in a nutshell his time with the real love of his life, which he royally fucked up, and it was the story of that, of Egon’s eventually jacked-beyond-repair relationship with Wally Neuzil that really sucked me in.


“Das Modell Wally Neuzil”/”The model Wally Neuzil.” 1912.

Artist Egon Schiele and his model, Valerie “Wally” Neuzil, were together from 1911 to 1915. He met her in Vienna when she was seventeen and he was twenty-one. Supposedly they were introduced by Gustav Klimt. Supposedly she had been Klimt’s mistress before she got together with Schiele. These things are all conjecture because everyone involved is dead, and they happened before the Great War, which so influenced the German-speaking art world in the years just following it that anything which contributed to or influenced an artist’s work before the War kind of fell by the wayside until later generations resumed their scholarship of turn of the century artists. That’s fair. Such radical changes happened during and after the War that I imagine it seemed crazy, outdated, and irrelevant to really consider too deeply the little emotional outbursts and criminal trials that came before the dramatic political events of the 1910’s and 20’s that literally reshaped the landscape.


“Rothaarige hockende Frau mit grünen Strümpfen (Valerie Neuzil)”/”Crouching figure with green stockings” (Valerie Neuzil).” 1913.

Egon and Wally left Vienna because they considered it too oppressive. They sought an inspirational, romantic, and bucolic lifestyle of freedom in the countryside, moving to Krumia — which also had the more practical benefit of much cheaper rent than Vienna — where, though Schiele’s mother was born there, they were summarily run out of town not too long after for being a little too inspirational, romantic, and bucolic: they’d been using the town’s teenagers as “models”. There’s a Schiele museum there now, so I guess that, like cream cheese, their hearts eventually softened to a spreadable cracker topping. That analogy got out of control in a hurry. It’s almost time for me to grab lunch, sorry.


“Wally in roter Blouse mit erhobenen Knien”/”Wally in red blouse with raised knees.” 1913.

Essentially fleeing the angry mob in Krumia, Egon and Wally moved again, this time north to Nuelengbach, where it was apparently same shit, different day, as they were not there even six months and Schiele was arrested for seducing a minor. Once in custody, they dropped that charge (apparently the young lady changed her tune when the absinthe wore off?) and an abduction charge the parents had insisted be levied originally, and instead tried and found him guilty of displaying inappropriate art in a place where minors could see it. He was released from prison after serving twenty-four days in April 1912 — are you getting the idea of what an awesome prince he was? such the lucky girl, that Wally — and they moved back to the Vienna area.


“Auf einem blauen Polster Liegende mit goldblondem Haar (Wally Neuzil)”/”Reclining female figure with gold blonde hair on a blue pillow (Wally Neuzil).” 1913.

Settled with Wally in Heitzing, a Viennese suburb, Schiele wrote to a friend in early 1915 that he was going to marry one of the Harms sisters, two locksmith’s daughters named Edith and Adele who lived across the street from his studio, for money. I guess running around for three years painting erotic pictures and pissing people off while sleeping with teenagers and doing jail time had not turned out to be the lucrative life of luxury he’d anticipated; the cash flow was getting low, and, despite that he considered Wally his partner and soulmate, marrying for money was Schiele’s timeless solution to their financial woes. He followed through on this, marrying the older of the daughters, Edith, on June 17, 1915, exactly 91 years before my own wedding day.


“Frau in Unterwäsche und Strümpfen (Valerie Neuzil)”/”Woman in underwear and stockings (Valerie Neuzil).” 1913.

A few days after his wedding, Schiele was called to the war, but managed to always serve in Austria, so he was able to continue with his art and stay close to his ties in Vienna. Wally had broken up with him when he told her he was getting married. Schiele wrote to friends expressing shock and grief: he’d actually expected her to understand and stay with him. He wrote a letter to Wally asking her to meet him at a billiards parlor that he liked to go to. There he gave her another letter, proposing that every year they go on an extended holiday, without his wife. She did not write back or respond positively to this. Instead, she left him and never saw him again.


“Frau mit schwarzen Strümpfen – Valerie Neuzil”/”Woman with black stockings – Valerie Neuzel.” 1913.

I was furious when I read this. I still remember sitting in my little house in Portland and my jaw dropping, and my blood boiling, all this anger and resentment simmering in me, directed at people I never met who’d been dead nearly a century, but I couldn’t help it. I hate him for marrying someone else, I hate him and I hate the story of how they were because it reveals that through all that time they spent together, Schiele must have considered Wally lower than him, and though she stood by him , asshole though he could be, he thought her to be the unimportant one, expendable and suppressable, and he literally threw her away like garbage even though she was the best thing that had happened to him; his drawings of her are the best things he did. But that is how some stories are, and I deserve to feel angry because I need to accept that, I have to work through my sadness about the fact that nothing and no one has ever been perfect not even for a day or an hour or a moment, every joyful thing is secretly riddled through with the knowledge that this is so good now because there will be pain later and every lucky penny has a tail side of the coin, and if I have to search my soul and see if there is any gold in the dross of this love story that I in my infantile understanding of human nature found so devastating than I guess I must say that I do love that Schiele really loved Wally in an incredibly broken way, and had that time with her in which there must surely have been good moments.


Photograph of Wally and Egon from the Schiele Museum online.

Schiele died only three years after his breakup with Wally, on Halloween 1918, in an influenza epidemic which had several days earlier killed Edith and their unborn child. He passed away completely unaware that Wally Neuzil had herself succumbed to death from disease around Christmas of the previous year. She’d become a nurse for the Red Cross and, stationed at Split in Dalmatia, she caught scarlet fever from one of her patients and died in the same hospital at which she’d been working for over a year.

edit 7/6/11. Question for discussion: on a large enough timeline, aren’t we and all our petty passions and tragedies truly sound and fury, don’t we signify nothing after all? I want to think not — likely only because of vanity and childish fear of my own meaninglessness — but it seems so true.

Heinlein Month: Intelligence is a misdemeanor

July 5, 2011


Vnixie by PaperMoon, via.

Being intelligent is not a felony. But most societies evaluate it as at least a misdemeanor.

(Robert Heinlein, Time Enough For Love.)

What? She looks smart.

Daily Batman: Talk nerdy to me, Darth Vader edition

July 5, 2011


via.

“I am your father.”

“My parents are deaaaaaad!”

Origin of the “My parents are deeaaaaaaad!” joke.

Referenced previously on this journal here, here, here, and here.

Did You Know? Darth Vader, the only man I’ve ever loved, was rated by the A.F.I. as the #3 Greatest Villain of All Time. That is very significant to me because of the high regard in which I hold the A.F.I.’s vital, meticulously reasoned “top” lists. I give them nearly the weight of the breathtakingly judicious Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.


Where is my mind.

In case your sarcasm early-warning systems are offline for routine maintenance today, I’m being a brat because I think #3 is weaksauce. When was the last time you saw a little kid dressing up as Hannibal Lecter for Halloween? Or Norman Bates? When was the last time everyone, everywhere, age 4 to 70, understood exactly who you meant when you made a breathing sound into your hands for Hannibal and Norman the way they do for Vader? Never is the answer. Never.

All my love to the #1 and #2 villains, but … I just don’t know. Maybe I should do a villain series … something like “Baby, You’re No Good” — oh, this idea has legs. Catch you on the flip, I got thoughts to jot!

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Textual healing, “It’s something I’m feeling all over”

July 5, 2011


via.

Living around the blanks.

Advice: Eff the ineffable and See you on the flip!

July 4, 2011

Still phoning it in. This post is originally from last year, but I took out the stuff about the Wonder Woman project (later aborted because when it comes to her I’ve got the attention span of a baby gnat). This year I’m needing to let go of my anxiety about a job with an amazing non-profit for which I interviewed last Friday and I Really, Really, Really want. So the advice still stands!


via.

“Let’s think the unthinkable, let’s do the undoable, let’s prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.”

(Douglas Adams.)

Let go and get in that “jump!” frame of mind. Eff the ineffable, indeed, and don’t let all the shit that doesn’t matter get in the way of the shit that does.

Happy Fourth of July — ‘scuse me while I slap on my Wonder Woman wunderoos and conquer the world! Scheduling a Daily Batman, maybe a Girl of Summer and then I will catch you on the flip.

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Prada Marfa

July 4, 2011


“Prada Marfa” by Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset, via.

Prada Marfa is a permanent art installation near Valentine, Texas, USA. (Where Giant was filmed.) Erected October 1, 2005, it’s modeled after a Prada store, with all the needless shit inside it, but the door doesn’t work.

On the front of the structure there are two large windows displaying actual Prada wares, shoes and handbags, picked out and provided by Miuccia Prada herself from the fall/winter 2005 collection; Prada allowed Elmgreen and Dragset to use the Prada trademark for this work.

Prada Marfa “was intended to never be repaired, so it might slowly degrade back into the natural landscape.” Again — no repairs, so that “50 years from now it will be a ruin that is a reflection of the time it was made.”

It’s a commentary on, like, society. (Deep drag on clove cigarette.)

Three days after it went up, the artists’ lofty plan for Prada Marfa to naturally degrade in to the landscape with no interference or repair was shot to hell when vandals broke in, stole six Prada purses and 14 right shoes, and graffitied the outside of the building with the word “Dumb” repeatedly.

The graffiti was quickly covered up, the windows repaired, and security cameras went in to the installation’s handbags.

That’s a commentary on, like, society.

Movie Millisecond: La Piscine

July 4, 2011

La Piscine (Jacques Deray, 1969).

Jane knows the way of it.

Heinlein Month: “If This Goes On —“

July 4, 2011


via.

When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, “This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know,” the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives.


Mighty little force is needed to control a man whose mind has been hoodwinked; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free. No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything — you can’t conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him.

(Robert A. Heinlein, If This Goes On — . Novella serialized February to March, 1940, in Astounding Science Fiction. )

Music Moment — Nicole Atkins, “Brooklyn’s on Fire!”

July 4, 2011

Portions of this post were originally published on September 26, 2009. And again on July 4, 2010. I’m phoning it in. What could be more American?

Happy Fourth of July to my fellow Americans, and, to those international friendohs from countries overseas to which our states once belonged as colonies — well, thanks for the memories. Days commemorating war always make me pray for peace. Here’s hoping that all nations can, in the words of the Beatles, come together. Also, twist and shout.

“Brooklyn’s on Fire!”, Nicole Atkins, Neptune City. I like this video here because it is made by someone in Brooklyn who likes Nicole Atkins and the 4th of july and baseball and likely all manner of things on which we could sit around and agree all day. Thank you, stranger! Your video’s view count has been dramatically affected by me since I found this last month!

Nicole Atkins is someone I stumbled over last year or maybe the year before after hearing one of her songs in a commercial and googling adtunes for days to find it. She has a really great, unique sound. She calls her music pop-noir.

She is a lion face, one of my favorite face types (all people look like an animal to me, or a blend of animals). I adore leonine women and I really love that she has a schnoz. It gives a woman character to have a big nose or a gap in her teeth, you know? It puts them that extra step past adorable into asymmetrically one of a kind, infinitely loveable. This goes for all of you. Love what you think are your flaws cause that’s probably the one part of you I seize on and fetishize most. I’m off topic. Back to this song.


Friday nights on the seventh floor
(FOURTH OF, JULY, BROOKLYN’S, ON FIRE)
Paper backs on the corner store
(FOURTH OF, JULY, BROOKLYN’S, ON FIRE)
Looking over the ledge,
the sidewalk traffic starts to spread


Summer’s begun across the Bay
And no bit of silence remains


Oh, Brooklyn’s on fire,
and fills July hearts with desire
Sleep will not come, until the morn
Cause tonight your memories are born
La dee da, la dee da


And the band’s not begun just yet
(FOURTH OF, JULY, BROOKLYN’S, ON FIRE)
Fifty names you’re bound to forget
(FOURTH OF, JULY, BROOKLYN’S, ON FIRE)
Black and blue on the lakes
Wear badges from happier days
Late in the night, in ’84
Walked in through the old out door


Oh, Brooklyn’s on fire,
and fills July hearts with desire
Sleep will not come, until the morn
Cause tonight your memories are born
La dee da, dee da, dee da


This would be my favorite movie if Cameron Diaz and Leonardo di Caprio hadn’t done their best to fuck it up. Bill the Butcher FOREVER.
(FOURTH OF, JULY, BROOKLYN’S, ON FIRE)
(FOURTH OF, JULY, BROOKLYN’S, ON FIRE)


I’m caught in the way,
of tears from much happier days
When we were young and unafraid,
of stupid mistakes that we made


Oh, Brooklyn’s on fire,
and fills July hearts with desire
Sleep will not come, until the morn
Cause tonight your memories are born
Ladeeda, la dee da, dee da, dee da, dee da

Daily Batman: We hold these truths to be self-evident

July 4, 2011


via Comically Vintage on the tumblr.

Don’t listen to the crackpots, kids.

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Don’t be a Don’t Bee

July 3, 2011

Do be a Do Bee: a cheerful, smiling drone.


via.

You don’t want to be a Don’t Bee. Then you’ll never be very happy.

Teevee Time: the Simpsons — Six of one …

July 3, 2011


via.

“Sideshow Bob’s Last Gleaming.” The Simpsons: Season 7, Episode 9.

Movie Millisecond: Out of all the gin joints in the world…

July 3, 2011

Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942).


via.

Sometimes that’s just how irrevocable shit goes down.

Daily Batman: Wild cats

July 3, 2011


“Milk” by devoteeofart on the d.a.

All cats are wild. They only act tame if there’s a saucer of milk in it for them.

(Douglas Adams)

Heinlein Month: This just in — kissing girls better than pinochle

July 3, 2011


The lovely and talented Alessandra Torresani.

“Kiss girls all you want to — it beats the hell out of card games.” — Jubal Harshaw.

(Robert Heinlein, Stranger In A Strange Land. 1961.)

I don’t know. Uno is pretty fun.

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Vintage girl’s French prayer card

July 2, 2011


via.

Catholicism is for lovers.

Teevee Time: the Brady Bunch — Sobbing

July 2, 2011


via.

“Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion…I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.”

(Kurt Vonnegut.)

Movie Millisecond: Gracious

July 2, 2011

B @ T’s (Blake Edwards, 1961).

Heinlein Month: Something better

July 2, 2011


via.

It would be a waste of breath to tell a man who believes in guns that you’ve got something better.

(Robert Heinlein. Methuselah’s Children. 1958.)

Daily Batman: Take time to make time

July 2, 2011

If you make your own fun then you’re never bored.