Egon Schiele, Portrait of his family, (unfinished) 1918 In 1918, at the age of 28, Austrian artist Egon Schiele began painting a portrait of his new family. That autumn, Egon, his wife Edith, and their unborn baby died. They were among millions of people who succumbed to the Spanish flu that year. Gustav Klimpt, Portrait of Amalie Zuckerk, (unfinished) 1917-1918 Before his death, Schiele mourned his mentor and friend, the artist Gustav Klimt. Following a stroke, Klimt had died from the flu that February, at the age of 55. Schiele sketched a portrait of Klimt on his deathbed. Egon Schiele, Portrait of Gustav Klimpt, 1918 Another artist who caught the flu but luckily survived was Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. While many of his early works convey haunting scenes of the death of his sister as well as fears of his own death, Munch’s Spanish flu paintings read more direct that the earlier dream-styled works. Edvard Munch, Self-Portrait with the Spanish Flu, 1919 During 1919 Munch painted a series of self portraits documenting his bout with the Spanish Flu. In the first (above) his mouth is open as if a corpse. In the second, he leans towards the viewer with pale lips and feverish face. In the last (below) he appears to stagger forward, normal color returning. Edvard Munch, Self-Portrait with the Spanish Flu, 1919 Edvard Munch, Self-Portrait with the Spanish Flu, 1919 The 1918 Spanish flu pandemic lasted from January 1918 to December 1920. 500 million people were infected – 25% of the world’s population at the time. I hope the comparisons of the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 to the present day’s Coronavirus are not too foretelling. It’s disconcerting how similar the illustration “Germicide Rush” is to the present day. Germicide Rush, 1918, National Library of Medicine, Fine Art America Stay well, friends.