- Egon Schiele
- Schlafendes Paar (Sleeping couple)
- signed with the artist's monogram and numbered 43 (lower right)
- pencil on paper
- 31.9 by 29.8cm., 12 5/8 by 11 3/4 in.
Hedwig Hayd (by descent from the above in 1945)
Galerie Würthle, Vienna
Galerie Claire Fontaine, Luxembourg (until 2003)
Private Collection, Luxembourg (acquired from the above in 2003; sale: Im Kinsky, Vienna, 13th May 2014, lot 44)
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner
Jane Kallir, Egon Schiele, The Complete Works, New York 1990, no. 351, illustrated p. 387
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In Schlafendes Paar (Sleeping couple) Schiele explores the two dimensional aesthetic of Jugendstil but transforms it with an expressive delicacy. He uses the single line of the blanket or sheet to separate background from foreground and imply a sense of depth, beginning an experimentation with a structured emptiness that was also particularly pertinent to his developments in painting at this time. Despite the striking simplicity of the composition, the arrangement of the two figures and the remarkable eloquence of their features imbue the work with feeling. As Jane Kallir writes: ‘Few artists in history have managed to express the spirit of their subject with such economy of means… With the precision of stop-action photography, Schiele could catch a moving body, or the flicker of emotion – a quivering lip, a furrowed brow – as it passed fleetingly across a sitter’s face… Because Schiele plumbed the very souls of his subjects, his drawings remain as fresh and vital today as they were when made. There is a timelessness to Schiele’s best work that speaks to the unchanging essence of humanity across time and space’ (Jane Kallir, Egon Schiele. Drawings & Watercolours, London, 2003, p. 442).