- Egon Schiele
- PORTRAIT OF OTTO FREUND
- charcoal and watercolour on paper
Eva & Otto Freund, Prague (acquired from the artist)
Thence by descent to the present owner
The subject of this striking portrait is Otto Freund, who was a director of the National Bank in Prague. According to family history, during a trip to Vienna he was approached by Schiele, who was fascinated by his appearance and asked Freund to sit for him. Alongside the present work, the artist also executed two watercolour portraits of Freund in 1910 (fig. 1), however the sitter had not previously been identified. The present work was given by Schiele to the sitter, and has remained in his family until now. Around the same time Schiele executed several watercolour portraits of Otto Freund's wife, Eva Gallus (see lot 16).
This magnificent drawing probably dates from 1910, the year regarded as a major turning-point for Schiele's art, when he executed his first ground-breaking Expressionist works. After leaving the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts in 1909, he began to develop his own distinct style and gradually turned away from the influence of his mentor, Gustav Klimt. Schiele's fine draughtsmanship had long been praised and admired while he was a student working with the young artists in Neukunstgruppe, but now, as he emerged as an individual artist with supreme creative talent, his drawings became more pronouncedly daring in their subjects and their execution.
Fig. 1, Egon Schiele, Porträt eines Herren, 1910, watercolour and charcoal on paper, Private Collection