Lot 66
  • 66

Egon Schiele

1,200,000 - 1,800,000 USD
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  • Egon Schiele
  • Sitzende mit angezogenem linken bein (torso) (Seated woman with bent left leg (torso))
  • Signed Egon Schiele and dated 1917 (lower center)
  • Gouache and black crayon on paper
  • 17 by 11 3/4 in.
  • 43.2 by 29.9 cm


Fritz Grünbaum, Vienna (by 1938)

Mathilde Lukcas-Herzl (sister-in-law of the above)

Gutekunst & Klipstein, Bern (purchased from the above on May 22, 1956)

Galerie St. Etienne, New York (acquired from the above on September 18, 1956)

Norman Granz, New York

Galerie St. Etienne, New York

Acquired from the above on November 12, 1963


Bern, Gutekunst & Klipstein, Egon Schiele: Bilder, Aquarelle, Zeichnungen, Graphik (Lagerkatalog), 1956, no. 51, illustrated in the catalogue

New York, Galerie St. Etienne, Egon Schiele, Watercolors and Drawings, 1957, no. 28, illustrated in the catalogue

Boston, Institute of Contemporary Art, Egon Schiele, 1960, no. 63


Kenyon Review, Gambier, Ohio, 1964, illustrated opposite p. 616

Jane Kallir, Egon Schiele: The Complete Works, New York, 1990, no. 1974, illustrated p. 579

Jane Kallir, Egon Schiele: The Complete Works, Expanded Edition, New York, 1998, no. 1974, illustrated p. 579

Marie-Theres Arnbon and Christoph Wagner-Trenkwitz (ed.), Grüß mich Gott, Fritz Grünbaum Eine Biographie 1880-1941, Vienna, 2005, p. 204


Sheet is hinged at the top 2 corners on an acid free mat. The sheet is slightly light stained where it has been exposed through the window mat. The gouache colors however are vibrant and the medium is intact. The sheet itself is in good condition.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

The linear precision and gorgeous execution of Schiele's gouache exemplifies the artist at the height of his talent and at the culmination of his career.  While his earlier renderings of nude female models appeared voyeuristic and frenetic, the present work from 1917 demonstrates his maturity,unflinching regard for sexual detail and meticulous attention to line, tonality and color.  "It is not a coincidence that [the works] from Schiele's late period have for years been much sought after by collectors," Jane Kallir has commented with regard to these works. "These women are exquisite objects of delectation' (J. Kallir, Egon Schiele: Drawings & Watercolors, New York, 2003, p. 390).

The present work is one of the most intriguing examples from this late period, when Schiele, now financially successful and married to Edith Harms, was no less excited by the erotic power of his own images. While his omission of the figure's head could be an attempt to concentrate exclusively on the body, it may also have been a choice to conceal his model's identity from his wife.   At the time he completed this picture, Schiele was engaged in an extramarital affair with Adele Harms, Edith's sister.  In a photograph taken by the artist around the time he completed this gouache, Adele appears in the same white chemise and black stockings that are depicted in the present work.  One might imagine the pleasure the artist experienced he worked on this drawing, luxuriating in every curve and detail of his lover's body without the risk of revealing his secret.  His focus here is almost entirely on her legs, one bent in front of her torso and the other partially stretched out beyond the picture plane. He renders the most sensual details of her anatomy - the firm contours of her calves and the supple flesh of her thighs extending from her lacy undergarments - with remarkable confidence and technical control. Only the most skilled of draughtsmen could depict this hyper-sexualised subject with such formal sophistication.

The first known owner of this work was the famed playwright, cabaret artist and connoisseur Fritz Grünbaum of Vienna.  Grünbaum was one of the great early collectors of Schiele’s works and tragically lost his life in Dachau in 1940. This work was sold by his sister-in-law in 1956 to Gutekunst and Klipstein who sold it that same year to Galerie St. Etienne in New York. At one time it was claimed that the present work was looted from Fritz Grünbaum or his widow Elizabeth Grünbaum-Herzl after the Anschluß in 1938; however, the New York trial court found that the drawing had never been looted by the Nazis and in a decision affirmed by the appellate court, confirmed the current ownership of the drawing.