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42

A DISCERNING EYE – THE COLLECTION OF A NOTABLE LADY

Egon Schiele
FRAU IN UNTERWÄSCHE UND STRÜMPFEN (VALERIE NEUZIL) (WOMAN IN UNDERCLOTHES AND STOCKINGS)
Estimate
2,500,0003,500,000
LOT SOLD. 2,890,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
42

A DISCERNING EYE – THE COLLECTION OF A NOTABLE LADY

Egon Schiele
FRAU IN UNTERWÄSCHE UND STRÜMPFEN (VALERIE NEUZIL) (WOMAN IN UNDERCLOTHES AND STOCKINGS)
Estimate
2,500,0003,500,000
LOT SOLD. 2,890,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

|
New York

Egon Schiele
1890 - 1918
FRAU IN UNTERWÄSCHE UND STRÜMPFEN (VALERIE NEUZIL) (WOMAN IN UNDERCLOTHES AND STOCKINGS)
Signed Egon Schiele and dated 1913 (center right)
Gouache, watercolor and pencil on paper
18 3/4 by 12 in.
47.6 by 30.6 cm
Executed in 1913.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Private Collection, Austria

Galerie Saint-Etienne, New York (acquired in 1996)

Private Collection (acquired from the above in the late 1990s and sold: Christie’s, London, February 4, 2008, lot 65)

Acquired at the above sale

Exhibited

Budapest, Müvészház, Bund Österreichischer Künstler es Gustav Klimt/Gyüjteményes Kiállításara, 1913, illustrated in the catalogue

Rome, Complesso del Vittoriano, Klimt Kokoshka Schiele, Dall' Art Nouveau all' Espressionismo, 2001-02, no. 96, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Vienna, Leopold Museum, Wally Neuzil - Ihr Leben mit Egon Schiele, 2015, n.n., illustrated in color in the catalogue

Literature

Jane Kallir, Egon Schiele: The Complete Works, New York, 1990, no. D 1239, illustrated p. 493

Jane Kallir, Egon Schiele: The Complete Works, New York, 1998, no. D 1239, illustrated p. 493

Jane Kallir, Egon Schiele's Women, New York, 2012, no. 161, illustrated in color p. 172


Catalogue Note

Schiele’s early watercolors and drawings of nude or scantily clad women are some of the most technically sophisticated and provocative images in the history of western art.   While these raw and often vulnerable depictions of young women caused a great deal of scandal during Schiele’s day, the artist’s more prescient contemporaries, including the elder Gustav Klimt, recognized the unmatched sophistication and perspicacity in his rendering of the human form.  Frau mit Unterwäscher und Strümpfen (Wally Neuzil), which Schiele completed when he was a mere twenty-two years old, is a marvelous example of why his art continues to excite and entice art lovers after nearly a century.

The model for the present composition was Schiele’s companion Wally Neuzil, who featured in Schiele’s most visually daring and experimental compositions of his career.   One of the more striking features of the present picture is the means by which Schiele applies color to the image.  Unlike his later works from 1914 in which gouache completely saturates the image, his pictures from this period offer a more restrained application of his medium that hints at texture rather than expressing it outright.   Every stroke of the brush is deliberate and exacting in order to relate only the most tactile details of the figure’s hair and legs.   We can see this again in the rendering of the model’s hair in the present work and in a related work, where Schiele captures the individual, tousled strands.  The most palpable feature of this image, however, is found in the contours of the figure’s calves, which he has highlighted with a modulation of orange gouache.   It is as if Schiele has consciously restrained himself in his investigation of her body, providing us with just enough of the fetishistic details to titillate our senses.

Jane Kallir has written about Schiele’s drawings in 1913, noting how the artist was picking up on aesthetic trends, such as Cubism, and incorporating them into his own aesthetic: “In some drawings from 1913, bizarrely foreshortened figures seem to hurl through space or waok with stiff, uneasy steps on wedge-like, triangulated feet.  Interior forms are subdivided into harsh, angular subsections, sometimes heightened by similarly modulated blocks of color.  This increased geometricity – which appears concurrently in the artist’s paintings — has been attributed to the influence of Cubism.  Schiele had become aware of the French style indirectly, through its impact on his German colleagues and through magazine reproductions.  His idiosyncratic assimilation of Cubist geometry had a paradoxical effect, bringing with it not only a greater degree of abstraction, but also a greater awareness of volume. The artist’s 1913 nudes begin a subliminal return to three-dimensional verisimilitude”  (Jane Kallir, Egon Schiele, Drawings and Watercolors, New York, 2003, p. 223).

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

|
New York