PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION
Gouache, watercolor, and pencil on paper
Glowacki (sold: Klipstein & Kornfeld, Bern, May 11, 1963, lot 995)
Rudolf Leopold, Vienna
Serge Sabarsky, New York
Saidenberg Gallery, New York
Gift of the above to the present owner
Vienna, Antiquariat Steinbach, circa 1960, no. 4
London, Marlborough Fine Art, Egon Schiele: Paintings, Watercolors and Drawings, 1964, no. 64
This image of a semi-nude girl depicted in an unusual position, half-seated, half-crouching, exemplifies an important change that occured in Schiele's art during this period. Discussing his works on paper from 1913, Jane Kallir explained: 'This year [...] produces one of the most profound changes of the artist's career: the switch from two-dimensional to three-dimensional orientation, which will shape his drawing style for good. In keeping with his Jugendstil conditioning, Schiele prior to 1913 had been in thrall to the flatness of the picture plane, its negative spaces, and to the tactile qualities of pigment for pigment's sake. Realistic verisimilitude was formerly of secondary importance only. Now this begins to change' (J. Kallir, op. cit., p. 490). Schiele was able to render his figures three-dimensionally by depicting his models from an unusual vantage point, often from above, standing on a ladder in his studio, as might have been the case with the present work. The use of foreshortening and the depiction of stylized, elongated limbs are combined here to create a dynamic composition, with the model's head hidden from the viewer's direct gaze.
Although the girl's face is not clearly shown, according to Jane Kallir, Otto Benesch identified the model in this work as Valerie (Wally) Neuzil, distinguished for her bright colored hair. Schiele first met Wally in 1911, at the time when she was seventeen years old, and had already worked as a model for Klimt. Alessandra Comini wrote about Neuzil: 'A red-headed young Viennese model with haunting blue-green eyes, Wally had been sent to Schiele by Klimt, and she followed the artist from Krumau to Neulengbach, settling down with him in the small garden house there. She became his devoted companion and mistress, posing for love and managing the more mundane aspects of the household [...]. During the years 1911 to 1914 Wally posed for scores of erotic work' (A. Comini, Egon Schiele's Portraits, Berkeley, Los Angeles & London, 1990, p. 99).
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