He studied at the courses of the Vienna Academy. Creativity Gerstle devoted mainly to the portrayal of the human figure, held in 1903−1908 in Vienna and Hungary. His painting is exceptionally expressive in style, form subordinated to color scheme. Gerstl often wrote self-portraits in different poses.
Austrian painter. He was the first of Austrians were in favor of "psychological" painting.
He studied at the Academy of art in Vienna with artist Christian Griepenkerl (1839−1916) and Henry Lefler. An early and passionate interest Gerstle for music led him in 1905 to the close circle around the composer Arnold Schoenberg. The best among his works are considered to be two of a group portrait of the family of Schoenberg’s remarkable for its psychological intensity.
Unrequited love to the first wife of the latter, Matilda, was the cause of his suicide. Gerstl was a man unbalanced. Two days later, after him went the wife of Schoenberg, he killed himself.
Work Gerstle include portraits in life-size friends and family numerous self-portraits and several small landscapes, which are the most accessible of the works created by this sensitive, agitated and complex artist.
In addition to several paintings, most of Gerstle drawings and sketches on paper disappeared after his death. There are approximately 70 paintings.
The main interest Gerstle was confined to painting the figure. "Half-naked self-portrait on a blue background" (1901−2, Vienna) is an amazing sort of "puberty" by Edvard Munch. Artistic and spiritual influence of the Norwegian artist’s expressive overcome, perhaps, only in the double portrait of the dying sisters (1905, Vienna, Belvedere). For these and later works Gerstle written in the style of post-impressionism or pointillism. Among the famous works Gerstle — portraits of his father, his brother in the uniform of a Lieutenant, Arnold Shoenberg (1905−6, Vienna).
Particularly striking is his self-portrait painted a few days before the suicide.
His work that anticipated the work of many impressionist artists of Austria, such as Oskar Kokoschka, was almost unknown until the 1930-ies.