PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE BRITISH COLLECTION
Thence by descent to the present owners
The model for this drawing is Gertrude ‘Gerti’ Schiele (later Gertrude Peschka), the artist’s younger sister who was sixteen years old at the time Schiele created this work. As he did not have much access to female models at this early point in his career, the artist often tuned to Gerti who posed for him in various stages of undress. The resulting images of Gerti are exquisite drawings of the female form, sometimes depicted in the nude, at other times accentuated with stylish elements of her wardrobe. Jane Kallir observed: ‘By 1909, there was no question that, among all his family members, Gerti was Egon’s favorite model. […] In the morning he was at her bedside, clock in hand, to wake her. At the count of three, she had to be up and ready to pose’ (J. Kallir, Egon Schiele’s Women, Munich, London & New York, 2012, p. 54).
In the present work Gerti is depicted with a palpable sense of intimacy and tenderness. Rather than overtly posing for the artist, she is captured in a moment of quiet repose or daydream, her elevated position on the sheet accentuating a distance between the sitter and the viewer. Like many other drawings that Schiele executed around the same time, this work demonstrates his interest in the balance of negative and positive spaces and the interplay of solids and voids. The artist would often reserve the colouring for the figure and would leave the background of the composition virtually untouched.
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