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Richard Gerstl
Richard Gerstl (1883–1908) was an Austrian painter and draughtsman known for his expressive and psychologically insightful portraits, his lack of critical acclaim during his lifetime, and his affair with the composer Arnold Schoenberg's wife. At the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Gerstl studied under the notoriously opinionated and difficult Christian Griepenkerl. He began to reject the style of the Vienna Secession and what he felt was "pretentious" art. For the summers of 1900 and 1901, Gerstl studied under the guidance of Simon Hollósy in Nagybánya. Inspired by the more liberal leanings of Heinrich Lefler, Gerstl once again attempted formal education. His refusal to participate in a procession in honor of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria further ostracized him and led to his departure; he felt that taking part in such an event was "unworthy of an artist". Gerstl painted this oil-on-canvas laughing self-portrait in an Expressionist style in the year of his death by suicide. The painting is now housed in the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere in Vienna.Painting credit: Richard Gerstl