Arnold Schönberg

Museum Ludwig

It is always interesting to observe an artist who is recognized in one arena while struggling in another with an almost more brilliant insouciance. In Arnold Schönberg’s case, the struggle produced a considerable number of interesting paintings: fascinating/failed paintings of bizarre curiosity. Do we need yet another painter who produced scurrilous portraits and pensive landscapes in the first days of Modernism? Take for example the often-reproduced Der rote Blick (The red eye, 1910), half August Strindberg, half Goya-remake, simultaneously self-portrait and an example of symbolism. Here Schönberg, whose dodecaphony was simply too much for everyone, turns downright popular. Even Blaues Selbstporträt (Blue self-portrait, 1910) is to be reckoned with as a painting. Here is rough-hewn superrealism (not unlike the European version of Pop art à la Otto Mühl) and a dilettantism that wants “to

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