- Egon Schiele
- Madchen als Halbakt, Sich die Bruste Haltend, Nach rechts gewandt (Semi-Nude Girl Holding her breast, facing right)
- Signed with the initial S (lower left); signed and dated Egon Schiele 1910 (lower right)
- Gouache and charcoal on paper
- 17 ¾ by 12 ¼ in.
- 45 by 31.3 cm
Private Collection, Switzerland (sold: Kornfeld & Klipstein, Bern, June 8, 1977, lot 834)
Alice Adam, Chicago
Stefan T. Edlis, Chicago
Serge Sabarsky, New York (sold: Sotheby’s, New York, May 14, 1997, lot 214)
Acquired at the above sale
Aix-en-Provence, Musée Granet; Albi, Musée Toulouse-Lautrec, Egon Schiele: cent oeuvres sur papier, 1993, no. 15
Lisbon, Culturgest, Egon Schiele 1890-1918: cen obras sobre papel, 1993, no. 15
Aschaffenburg, Stadt Aschaffenburg/Galerie Jesuitenkirche, Egon Schiele: 100 Zeichnungen und Aquarelle, 1994, no. 15
Blumeninsel Mainau, Schloss Mainau, Egon Schiele: Gemälde, Zeichnungen, Aquarelle, 1994, no. 26
Martigny, Fondation Pierre Gianadda, Egon Schiele, 1995, no. 56 (titled Femme debout au torse nu)
Bad Frankenhausen, Panorama Museum, Egon Schiele: 100 Zeichnungen und Aquarelle, 1996
New York, The Serge Sabarsky Foundation, Egon Schiele: Drawings and Watercolors, 1996
Klagenfurt, Städtische Galerie Klagenfurt; Cracow, International Cultural Centre, Egon Schiele: 100 Zeichnungen und Aquarelle, 1996-97, no. 15
The Austrian artist Egon Schiele is often considered the Wunderkind of the early 20th century avant-garde for his candid pictorial explorations of the human body. The greater part of his remarkable oeuvre, mostly works on paper, was completed within the span of a decade before he died of the Spanish flu at the age of twenty-eight. As a young art student working in Vienna in the first decade of the 1900s, he became a close acquaintance of Gustav Klimt, the celebrated painter of the Viennese Belle Epoque. Klimt instantly recognized the younger artist's exceptional talent as a draftsman, and supposedly even regarded Schiele's skill as being far superior to his own. According to one account, Schiele had once shown some drawings to Klimt and asked for his criticism, to which Klimt allegedly responded, "But you already know more than I do" (Serge Sabarsky, Egon Schiele, 1890-1918, A Centennial Retrospective (exhibition catalogue), Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn Harbor, 1990, p. 13).
By the time he completed this work in 1910, Schiele had fully emerged from the influence of Klimt and developed his own aesthetic. Many of the works from this year are self-portraits or depictions of attenuated nude models in various poses, such as the present work. For the most part, these figures were beautifully colored with transparent flesh tones and explicit in the physicality of their poses. At once shocking and greatly appealing to many generations of viewers, these drawings demonstrate the artist's skill as a draftsman and his obsession with the sensuous contours of the human form. In this work, he has depicted the model in a three-quarter profile that reveals the musculature of her arms and shoulders and the suppleness of her breasts. The figure's hands are noticebly large in proportion to the rest of her body, and the artist colors them with the same warm, reddish pigment that he uses for the areolae of her nipples and for her luxuriant hair. Schiele uses visual cues such as these to appeal directly to the senses of the viewer - a technique that continues to prove effective nearly a century after he completed this picture.
This work was formerly in the collection of Serge Sabarsky, the legendary art dealer specializing in German and Austrian art. Key holdings from the Sabarsky collection today form the core of the Neue Galerie in New York.