Alessandra Commini Honored for Research on Egon Schiele in Austria
Kept under wraps from her until she entered the museum to which she contributed so much research to, Alessandra Comini was greeted with a most pleasant surprise: the new Egon Schiele Exhibit, “Egon Schiele Private: A Biographical Approach” in the artist’s museum was dedicated to her: “Alessandra Comini: A Journey That Made History”!
The exhibit details:
“…the young academic scholar with the ambition of devoting her future career in research to the artist whom she had first come across in a small exhibition in Berkeley, California.
“One sunny August morning in 1963 she hired a Volkswagen and set off on a legendary trip through Schiele’s Lower Austria. Comini stopped off in Klosterneuburg, Tulln and Neulengbach, later also in Krems and Mühling. She visited the Gymnasium (grammar school) in Klosterneuburg, the house of Schiele’s birthplace in Tulln, and the prison in Neulengbach, where the artist had been kept in custody for 21 days.
“On that eventful day, which Comini herself calls the high note of her academic career, she took photos in all relevant places and sent them to Egon Schiele’s sisters. Eventually she met up with Melanie and Gerti, also with Schiele’s sister-in-law Adele. This resulted in long-standing friendships and a number of unique audio tapes of interviews, which open up an authentic and very personal view of the artist’s life.”
Video monitor stations are placed where visitors can learn about the life of Schiele, based on taped interviews Comini conducted with Schiele’s two sisters and sister-in-law 49 years after his death, as enacted by shadow figures. Three sit-down stations also play Schiele/Comini videos.
On the opening day of the exhibit, Comini received The Golden Medal of the Decoration of Merit for Services to the Province of Lower Austria in recognition and appreciation of her long-standing and meritorious work as an art historian and author. It was the second time she received a service award from Austria for her work on Schiele. In 1990 the Republic of Austria gave Comini a similar service-to-the-nation award for her research, which included her 1963 discovery of the location of Schiele’s unknown, forgotten Neulengbach prison cell.
Lecture in Neulengbach
Alessandra Comini and Günter Wagensommerer, fellow researcher, gave exciting insights into the life of the artist Egon Schiele at a lecture held in the Austrian town of Neulengbach. In 1912, Egon Schiele moved to Neulengbach and was soon imprisoned there, where he executed a series of 12 paintings depicting the difficulties and discomfort of being locked in a jail cell. Comini gave Wagensommerer a gift she received from one of the sisters of the artist.
Visiting Peter Altenberg in Adolf Loos’s American bar
Alessandro Comini visits the American Bar in Vienna, Austria. Austrian and Czech architect and theorist Adolf Loos designed the bar in 1908 to emulate the American style of drinking such as the newly-popular cocktail. Loos dedicated the bar to his friend, poet Peter Altenberg, and a portrait of him still hangs inside.