Gustav Nebehay, Vienna
Neue Galerie, Vienna (acquired from the above by 1928)
Sale: Dorotheum, Vienna, 19th-21st January 1954, lot 74
Sale: Dorotheum, Vienna, 22nd March 1968, lot 331
Georg Waechter Memorial Foundation, Geneva (purchased at the above sale)
Private Collection, New York (acquired from the above in 1996)
Galerie St. Etienne, New York (acquired in 2004)
Private Collection, Vienna (acquired from the above in 2005)
Sale: Im Kinsky, Vienna, 11th October 2005, lot 173
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner
Vienna, Neue Galerie, Egon Schiele: Gedächtnisausstellung zum 30. Todestag, 1948, no. 32
Zurich, Galerie Knoedler & New York, M. Knoedler & Co., Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, James Ensor, Alfred Kubin: Künstler der Jahrhundertwende, 1986, no. 10, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Charleroi, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Egon Schiele, 1987, no. 62, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Roslyn, Nassau County Museum of Art, Egon Schiele, A Centennial Retrospective, 1990, no. 113, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Linz, Oberösterreichisches Landesmuseum, Egon Schiele, Zeichnungen, Aquarelle und Gemälde, 1990, no. 112
Milan, Palazzo della Permanente, Egon Schiele – Acquarelli e Dipinti, 1991, no. 83
Martigny, Fondation Pierre Gianadda, Schiele, 1995, no. 30, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Vienna, Albertina, Egon Schiele, 2005-06, no. 121, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Otto Kallir, Egon Schiele, Œuvre Catalogue of the Paintings, Vienna & New York, 1966, no. 170, illustrated p. 343
Rudolf Leopold, Egon Schiele, Paintings, Watercolours, Drawings, London, 1972, no. 204, illustrated p. 568
Gianfranco Malafarina, L’Opera di Egon Schiele, Milan, 1982, no. 210, illustrated p. 101
Maria Marchetti, Le Arti a Vienna, Venice & Milan, 1984, illustrated in colour p. 229
Jane Kallir, Egon Schiele: The Complete Works, New York, 1990, no. 243, illustrated p. 314
Kimberly A. Smith, Between Ruin and Renewal. Egon Schiele’s Landscapes, New Haven & London, 2004, illustrated p. 117
Schiele had left Krumau for Neulengbach in 1911 and the present work is one of a small number of paintings that he made from memory rather than painted from life. These works (fig. 2) have a distinctive aesthetic in comparison to the views of the city where a rigid linearity is the defining characteristic (fig. 3). The use of panel as opposed to canvas allowed for a much freer application of paint, and Schiele’s broad and vigorous brushstrokes achieve a wonderfully vivid effect. This approach liberated him from the restrictions of conventional representation and the result is a radical approach to perspective in which both the vegetation of the foreground and the church behind are given equal primacy.
This effect was one that Schiele employed in a number of his depictions of Krumau. Kimberly A. Smith discusses this in terms of a balance between nature and civilisation, recalling Schiele’s preference for medieval towns that gave the impression of not being man-made but of having evolved naturally from their surroundings. She explains that, ‘in Schiele’s images the built world takes on the characteristics of the natural world so that civilisation seems subordinated or even transformed into nature’, she goes on to cite the present work as an example of this, writing, ‘The church does not sit majestically or assuredly atop a supporting plateau. Instead, the tumultuous field of green threatens to overtake the buildings above. To the left side of the canvas this has already happened, with one wayward mound of brush breaking up and into the space of the smaller building situated just beneath the church’ (K. A. Smith, op. cit., p. 117).
It has been widely observed that Schiele's townscapes are not literal depictions of a given view, but rather the artist's own, highly personalised interpretations of them. Like many of his best landscapes, the present work is reflective of the artist's emotional and psychological response to Krumau, rather than an accurate topographical representation. As Klaus Albrecht Schröder wrote: 'The town, for Schiele, is a field of association for his own emotions; predictably, none of his townscapes gives anything like an exact rendering of the place concerned. [...] Nor does he select his views of Krumau with the eye of a tourist, strolling round to surrender himself to whatever charms the town may have to offer. On the contrary; he examines each and every building for its symbolic content' (K. A. Schröder in Egon Schiele und seine Zeit: Österreichische Malerei und Zeichnung von 1900 bis 1930 aus der Sammlung Leopold (exhibition catalogue), Von-der-Heydt-Museum, Wuppertal, 1988, p. 26).
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