- Egon Schiele
Stehender Akt mit grossem Hut (Gertrude Schiele) Standing nude with large hat (Gertrude Schiele)
- Charcoal on paper
- 17 1/2 by 12 1/4 in.
- 44.5 by 31 cm
(probably) Gustav Nebehay, Vienna (probably acquired directly from the artist)
Christian M. Nehebay (probably by descent from the above)
Thence by descent to the present owner
Darmstadt, Mathildenhöhe, Internationale der Zeichnung, 1967, no. 12
London, Fischer Fine Art, Egon Schiele: Oils, Watercolors, Drawings and Graphic Work, 1972, no. 41(as dating from circa 1912)
Munich, Haus der Kunst, Egon Schiele, 1975, no. 125 (as dating from circa 1910)
The model for this exquisite drawing from 1910 is Gertrude (Gerti) Schiele Peschka, the artist's younger sister. Because Schiele did not have much access to female models at this early point in his career, he often turned to Gerti and cajoled her to pose in various stages of undress. The resulting images of Gerti are beautifully detailed studies of the female form, sometimes accentuated with stylish elements of wardrobe. On a number of occasions Schiele had her pose with the same large-brimmed hat featured in the present work (see Kallir nos. 546 and 547) . But given the fact that she was his sister, Schiele is careful not to invest these depictions with any of the raw sexual appeal that would characterize his later work.
Schiele's draftsmanship is impeccable in this exquisite drawing. He has taken great care to articulate every joint and curve of the torso of the young woman's naked body as she poses with her chemise draped around her waste, exposing her breasts. Her overly mannered gestures -- one arm twisted around her back and her hand resting against her chin -- are tell-tale signs that her brother instructed her how to pose for this picture. Schiele often depicted himself posing with splayed fingers and a side-long glance, and Gerti's similarly stylized pose here evokes the same narcissism and self-consciousness that we often see in some of Schiele best self-portraits from 1910.
In a recent monograph on the artist, Jane Kallir has discussed Schiele's adolescent fascination with nudity and the role that his sister played in his art at this phase of his development. Kallir writes, "Given that sex is a major preoccupation of late adolescent, it is perhaps natural that nudes figure so strongly in Schiele's output of drawings and watercolors from 1910 on. That said, the 1910 nudes hold little sexual charge. Schiele is at this point not ready for a mature sexual relationship. Gerti -- whom Egon had always pushed around and whose embarrassment at posing naked is palpable in his studies -- was a far less threatening subject than a more available female would have been." (Jane Kallir, Egon Schiele, Drawings and Watercolors, New York, 2003, p. 74).
Fig. 1, Gertrude Schiele, 1911-12, photographer unknown.