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PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE GERMAN COLLECTION

Egon Schiele
WIESE, KIRCHE UND HÄUSER (MEADOW, CHURCH, AND HOUSES)
Estimate
Irrevocable Bids
Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
1,500,0002,000,000
LOT SOLD. 2,045,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
42

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE GERMAN COLLECTION

Egon Schiele
WIESE, KIRCHE UND HÄUSER (MEADOW, CHURCH, AND HOUSES)
Estimate
Irrevocable Bids
Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
1,500,0002,000,000
LOT SOLD. 2,045,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

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London

Egon Schiele
1890 - 1918
WIESE, KIRCHE UND HÄUSER (MEADOW, CHURCH, AND HOUSES)
signed Egon Schiele and dated 1912 (upper right)
oil on panel
37 by 29.3cm.
14½ by 11½in.
Painted in 1912.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Otto Schönthal, Vienna

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 

Exhibited

Vienna, Hagenbund & Neue Galerie, Gedächtnisausstellung Egon Schiele, 1928, no. 33

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

Literature

Bruno Grimschitz, Österreichische Maler vom Biedermeier zur Moderne, Vienna, 1963, illustrated in colour pl. 117

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

Catalogue Note

Painted in 1912, Wiese, Kirche und Häuser is an important example of the Schiele's painting from this formative period in his career. The subject – the medieval town of Krumau and more specifically, a part of the church of St. Veit that stood at its centre – was one that the artist turned to frequently during these years. Jane Kallir described its importance within the artist’s œuvre: 'Schiele's favourite landscape subject [...] was the town of Krumau (today Cesky Krumlov), to which he referred most frequently as the 'dead city' (but also as the 'old city' and the 'city on the blue river'). Krumau, his mother's birthplace, was indisputably an old city, a medieval time capsule whose winding streets and crumbling buildings embodied for Schiele an eternity of human decay and persistence. Situated around and within a tortuous bend in the Moldau river (now called the Vlatava), Krumau has a compact, islandlike configuration that Schiele found compositionally intriguing. He liked especially to perch on the high left bank of the river and draw the old town from above. He told one friend that this bird's-eye perspective influenced all his work, and, indeed, even his nudes were often viewed from the vantage point of a tall stool or ladder' (J. Kallir, Egon Schiele, New York, 1994, p. 96).

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).

 

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

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