All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Jessica Dallow

Advisory Committee Members

Cathleen Cummings

Rachel Stephens

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences


This thesis investigates the effect of the converging crises of WWI and the Spanish Flu in on the last artworks of Egon Schiele, and argues that these two events precipitated a shift in the artist’s theme, aesthetic, and technique in these 1918 artworks. Before his death from the Spanish Flu in late October, 1918, Schiele managed to produce nearly thirty paintings in the last two years of his career. While many scholars have discussed Schiele’s art in the context of personal maturation, I argue instead that Schiele’s aesthetic shift towards naturalism symbolized new modes of exploring ideas of life and death via renderings of the human body. This study of Schiele’s last artworks, in the context of WWI and the Spanish Flu, presents a new way of understanding Schiele’s relationship with the body as a signifier of health or illness. This thesis is unique in its focus on Schiele’s production of both private and commissioned work in 1918, and concludes that this subtle shift towards naturalistic renderings of the body proves significant in the context of the body as a signifier of health amidst this period of mass illness and death.