Richard Gerstl


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Status, estimation and price of the artist Richard Gerstl

Price of a painting: 530,000 – 2,800,000 €.

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Richard Gerstl, an undisciplined painter

Richard Gerstl was born on 14 September 1883 in Vienna. Coming from a rich, middle-class family, he attended several renowned schools. However, his entire schooling remained complicated from an early age due to disciplinary problems.

He died at the age of 25, on November 4, 1908, after hanging himself in front of a mirror. Before that, he himself destroyed some of his paintings and personal files.

Richard Gerstl, Austrian expressionist painter

Richard Gerstl studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna where he met several emblematic professors such as Christian Griepenkerl or Simon Hollosy. The latter will teach him the art of figurative painting.

Eager for culture and novelty, he was used to visiting Viennese museums and taking an interest in new techniques and artistic processes. It was in this context that he discovered contemporary artists such as Van Gogh and Edvard Munch. Gradually, he was influenced by the latter artist and his painting took on a new dimension.

Richard Gerstl became a follower of the Expressionist movement, a famous artistic movement at the beginning of the 20th century. His painting becomes more abstract and less precise. Through his canvases, Richard Gerstl expresses his anguish, his sorrows and his disappointments about life. Despite his young age, he is very critical of the world around him and tries to convey an emotional reaction through his paintings.

Today, his known collection comprises only about 60 paintings. Most of these paintings are exhibited in Austria and Germany.

Richard Gerstl, also known as the “cursed painter”

Richard Gerstl mainly painted portraits and landscapes. The majority of his canvases were made from his adulterous relationship with Mathilde Schonberg, sister of the Austrian composer Alexander Von Zemlinsky. But the latter was above all the wife of Richard Gerstl’s great friend Arnold Schonberg. Richard Gerstl painted many scenes featuring the Schonberg family. These include “Mother and Children” in 1906 and “The Schonberg Family” in 1907.

This forbidden love will come to an end in the summer of 1908, after being discovered by the deceived husband. From the end of his love affair, Richard Gerstl painted two self-portraits, the first in 1907 and the other in 1908. But his paintings were less portraits than landscapes.

In 2017, Itzhag Goldberg, professor at the University of Saint-Etienne and auctioneer, will be supervising the exhibition “Retrospective: Richard Gerstl, the cursed painter”. This exhibition retraces the short but full story of this tortured painter who was unable to make a name for himself outside the borders of his native Austria.

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